Why Arsene Wenger says Arsenal won’t be taking Bradford lightly in Capital One Cup
Gunners boss sends out warning ahead of quarter-final trip to League Two side
Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal stars not to be complacent ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Bradford City in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.
The Gunners head to Valley Parade to take on the League Two minnows who are three divisions and 65 places below them in the league standings.
But Wenger warned: “I believe when you go to places like this, you need to tell your players that it will be as difficult as a Premier League game, and it will be. Therefore you want to prepare yourself. If you don’t do your mental work before the game, you have no chance and that is where our job lies.
“We have watched them on video. They are a force in their league, they are a team who plays a very good football, very efficient as well. We take them very seriously, they are very efficient on set pieces, so we will have to be very strong on that.
“The atmosphere is similar to what we know when they were in the Premier League. The two strikers are very dangerous. it is a team who is very compact and very direct as well.”
Wenger took his Arsenal side to Bradford twice back in 2000, and failed to win either as the Gunners were beaten 2-1 and drew 1-1 on their two previous visits to this part of Yorkshire.
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“It was a difficult place to go to when we played there in the Premier League,” said Wenger. “It is a passionate place with a very special atmosphere as well. That’s what you will get again in this match.”
Wenger has failed to win this competition despite reaching two finals and countless quarter- and semi-finals in his 16 years in charge of the Gunners, but although he has called it his ‘fourth priority’ this season, the Frenchman is adamant he wants to win this trophy, and that his side showed it in the staggering 7-5 win at Fulham in the fourth round.
“We went through all kind of emotions in that game,” said Wenger, whose side trailed 4-0 at the Madejski Stadium after just half an hour. “At 4-1 at half-time, you think it will be difficult to come back, but I always had hope we would respond in the second half and we did that well.
“Hopefully, everybody believes now that we are serious about the competition. I don’t know how many years we have been in the quarter-final in succession, I think it’s nine years. We have an opportunity to go to the semi-final. We want to take it.”
The Gunners will be without Olivier Giroud, who picked up a back injury during Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion, but Wenger indicated he will play a strong side at Valley Parade, or the Coral Windows Stadium as the sponsors would now have it be called.
“As always, [I will pick] a side that has a good chance to go through, “ added Wenger. “We know in England, you need to be ready when you go into a cup game of this intensity. Of course we want to take our chance and go through to the semi-final. We’ll use an experienced side because we have time to recover before Monday’s match at Reading.”