Wenger to field strong Arsenal side in Capital One Cup tie

Arsene Wenger has vowed to take an experienced squad for the Capital One Cup match at League Two side Bradford City as Arsenal go in search of a first trophy since 2005, the Guardian has reported.

Wenger has made a habit of fielding inexperienced line-ups in the competition but is unlikely to make major changes to the side that beat West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday. Olivier Giroud will be absent with a back injury and Wenger’s hand is forced by half-a-dozen other fitness concerns, but the manager is expected to name his first choice goalkeeper and back four at Valley Parade.

That would mean Wojciech Szczesny starting in goal, with Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs making up the defensive unit. Vito Mannone has returned to the squad after injury but is not expected to supplant Szczesny, while centre-back Laurent Koscielny is one of those on the injured list.

Wenger is taking advantage of Arsenal’s next league match, against Reading, not taking place until Monday rather than Saturday or Sunday, with the extra day or two providing enough recuperation time for his first team regulars to feature.

The manager said: “We will have an experienced squad at Bradford. We have a good recovery time ahead of the Reading game on Monday so we can use the players we want to use.

We take every competition as an opportunity but, of course, the way is shorter now, so that is why we focus on that.

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