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Monday, January 24, 2011

Carling Cup could be vital for Arsenal

The Carling Cup might not seem like a big competition to many of the larger teams in the Premier League, but for Arsenal it could be used to turn a corner.

The Gunners are used to winning competitions and having silverware, however it is now six years since they have won a trophy and many Arsenal fans will see this year's Carling Cup as a great chance to stop the doubters from being able to rub that in their face again.

Ipswich won the first leg of the semi-final 1-0 but Arsene Wenger is likely to field a much stronger side for the return match at the Emirates and the away goals rule does not come into play until after extra-time.

While the Tractor Boys may be a much-altered side under Paul Jewell, now playing with confidence rather than fear like under Roy Keane, you would expect Arsenal to have too much strength at home and the Carling Cup final betting slips will no doubt feature their name.

The Gunners are still in the Premier League title race, but are some way behind Manchester United as the side people fancy to win the trophy, and are facing a tough baptism in the Champions League against Barcelona.

That means the FA Cup and the Carling Cup are the two prime opportunities for silverware for Wenger's side this season – so they need to go into this semi-final looking at it as a must-win game and anyone planning to bet on Carling Cup action should remember this.

If Arsenal get an early goals and play to a fast tempo they could blow away Ipswich and book themselves a date with either Birmingham or West Ham at Wembley, and these are both sides the Gunners have brushed aside with ease already this year.

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