Arsenal pre-game latest: Including Giroud injury and Meade

Carling Cup Final

Team news and gossip ahead of Arsenal's League Cup quarter final with Bradford City at Valley Parade.

Despite usually considering the League Cup as an opportunity to blood youngsters Arsene Wenger claims his team against Bradford will be a strong and experience side. With the next Premier League game not until Monday against Reading Wenger believed there is plenty of recovery time between each fixture for them to field a mixture of experienced and inexperienced players at Valley Parade.

Wenger has made a few announcements about the team ahead of the game with Olivier Giroud confirmed as injured along with Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Andre Santos and Laurent Koscielny. Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel, who would have hoped to be fit for the fixture are also both missing with injuries while Vito Mannone returns to the squad.

One Arsenal youngster hoping to feature in some capacity is young German Thomas Eisfeld who will not be taking Bradford City for granted. He knows how unpredictable cup games can be and considering the recent run of form the League Two side have been on in the cup he knows it ‘should be hard’.

Jernade Meade is another youngster hoping to be given a chance of impressing in the fixture. Meade made his first Arsenal start in the Champions League defeat in Greece last week and featured against Reading in the previous round of the competition. Wenger has been very impressed with his development and despite his slight build the left-back insists he will not be pushed around against Bradford on Tuesday evening.

Arsene Wenger is keen for his side to avoid needing a penalty shoot-out against their lowly League Two opposition. Bradford have won their previous eight penalty shoot-outs and Wenger also remembers his trips to Valley Parade in the Premier League as ‘difficult’ so believes going into penalties would be a huge mistake in front of impassioned home support.

Bradford will remain without some of their star players who are currently nursing long-term injuries. Kyel Reid, Zavon Hines and Andrew Davies are looking at returns after Christmas from their respective injuries. Phil Parkinson is expected to field an unchanged side from the game with Torquay this weekend which would mean a place for recent headline maker Curtis Good, on-loan from Newcastle United.

In other news Arsenal have been linked with a sensational swoop for Manchester United winger Nani. With Theo Walcott’s contract situation showing no signs of abating it is believed that Wenger may be readying a £20 million bid to pry away the out-of-favour Portuguese winger from his old rivals in Manchester.

What are your thoughts ahead of the League Cup quarter final tie with Bradford City?

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