Following the 7:0 hammering by Chelsea, Ipswich hope the arrival of boss Paul Jewell will be enough to boost the players’ spirits as they prepare to welcome Arsenal in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg. The Gunners escaped elimination from the FA Cup as Cesc Fabregas scored the spot kick in injury time to earn his side a replay, so Arsene Wenger’s side will also have something to prove in this clash.
Paul Jewell watching from the stands
Ipswich Town started the Championship campaign pretty well but they suffered a big dip in form at the beginning of November, losing six straight league games and after the team showed no improvement in the next few games, the club board decided to sack boss Roy Keane and appoint Paul Jewell. The former Wigan manager was not on the bench as the Tractor Boys were hammered by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and he will miss this game as well, meaning coach Ian McParland will be left with a tough task of trying to get a positive result against mighty Arsenal. The players’ confidence is pretty low following the embarrassing defeat to Chelsea and with the hosts missing few first team regulars, they look unlikely to score a goal, let alone get something from the game.
Jake Livermore and Rory Fellon are cup-tied and they will not be in contention, while Grant Leadbitter is suspended.
Can Arsenal end the trophy drought?
It’s been more than five years since Arsenal last won a major trophy and if there ever was a chance for the Gunners to end the barren run, it is this season. Their road to Carling Cup title is wide open seeing that West Ham and Birmingham are fighting for the second place in the final, so you can be pretty sure Arsene Wenger will take the Ipswich game very seriously. The boss will be looking for a response from his players following a poor performance against Leeds and the Gunners are expected to prove their credentials against weak Ipswich side. Arsenal have been pretty convincing on the travels this season, so they should be able to continue the good away run at Portman Road.
Emanuel Eboue will deputize for the suspended Bacary Sagna, while Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou are set to continue their defensive partnership in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen and Sebastien Squillaci.
With Ipswich largely struggling of late as well as missing a couple of important first team players, Arsenal are hot favourites to win this one, but odds offered on away win are just 1.36 (4/11) and as such are hardly worth the risk. This is why our advice is to back Arsenal to win to nil, as Ipswich boast one of the worst scoring records in the Championship, while they failed to find the net in their last two games.
Our prediction: Arsenal to win to nil
Odds: 2.30 (13/10)
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler