Preview by Numbers: Bradford City v. Arsenal, Capital One Cup Fifth Round

Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford
Tuesday, December 11
2:45 p.m. EST, 19:45 GMT
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Mike Dean
    • Assistants: Jake Collin and John Brooks
    • 4th Official: Kevin Friend
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 11 Arsenal wins, 9 Bradford wins, 5 draws
  • Arsenal's League Cup Path
    • Third Round: 6-1 win over Coventry City
    • Fourth Round: 7-5 win over Reading, after extra time 
  • Bradford's League Cup Path
    • First Round: 1-0 win over Notts County, after extra time
    • Second Round: 2-1 win over Watford
    • Third Round: 3-2 win over Burton Albion, after extra time
    • Fourth Round:  0-0 win over Wigan Athletic, 4-2 on penalties
  • Arsenal's Premier League Form: D-W-D-D-L-W
  • Bradford's League Two Form: D-W-L-W-D-W
Scolding should be a yellow card.
As some would have you believe, on Saturday, Arsenal became the first team in history to have a player simulate a challenge to deceive the referee into giving a penalty. What an outrage! This kind of thing has never happened before, ever, in the history of the sport!

Those focusing squarely on Santi Cazorla's tumble do tend to ignore the fact that Arsenal was the better side on the day and fully deserved the victory over West Bromwich Albion, no matter how they actually ended up getting there. West Brom may feel hard done by the decision, but they won a cheeky penalty as recently as two weeks ago against Sunderland. Let's just drop it, though you should be aware that Arsenal probably won't win a penalty again until April.

The break of luck was just what the doctor ordered for an Arsenal side that desperately needed three points from Saturday's match. Now, with another six days to go until league play resumes on Monday night against Reading, Arsenal travel to West Yorkshire to face off against League Two Bradford City in the quarterfinals of the League Cup. They are potentially three matches away from a second trip to Wembley in three years, but have a history of faltering in this round. This is the tenth consecutive season they have made it to the final eight, but they have been bounced from the quarterfinals in four of the nine previous seasons, including three of the last four. On the other hand, Arsenal have never lost a cup tie to a fourth tier side, in eight prior matches.

So, come on you Gunners!

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Giroud (back), Sagna (foot), Walcott (calf), Koscielny (thigh), Santos (abdominal), Diaby (thigh), Fabianski (shoulder), Yennaris, Djourou, Miquel (all unspecified)

I imagine Jack Wilshere will be rested tonight.
Also, this picture is awesome.
The initial word is that Arsenal will be sending a fairly strong line-up to Bradford for the match, considering the Gunners do not play again in the league until Monday night at Reading. It's not a full week off in between, but six days is a lot more than you would normally get after playing in midweek. That said, the players currently have had only Sunday and Monday of rest since beating West Brom, so you're more likely to have tired legs here than next week at Reading.

Olivier Giroud will not make the trip; he picked up a back twinge against West Brom and will be rested. Bacary Sagna surprisingly returned at the weekend, so he will be rested tonight. There are still no returns on the cards for Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny, Andre Santos, or Abou Diaby (ha!) As for players who might have gotten League Cup starts, but won't through injury, Nico Yennaris, Ignasi Miquel, and Johan Djourou all remain out.

Damian Martinez started the third and fourth round cup ties since Arsenal had no other fit goalkeepers; now that Vito Mannone has dropped to the bench (and he will be available again after missing Saturday through an undisclosed injury), one wonders if the Italian will get the start here. Arsenal have only three fit center backs, so Sebastien Squillaci looks assured to be selected (and may God help us.)

As for the rest, I haven't the slightest idea how young or how experienced Arsene Wenger will go. It is a quarterfinal, but it's also against League Two opposition.

Bradford Squad News

Out: Reid (groin), Hines (ankle), Davies (knee), Oliver (Achilles)

Valley Parade is now called Coral Windows Stadium, for
sponsorship reasons. I don't see any coral windows at all.
Like Arsenal, Bradford City played twice last week, which led to some squad rotation. In midweek, the Bantams breezed past Port Vale 2-0 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern semi-finals. At the weekend, they beat ten man Torquay United with an 85th minute winner. Bradford boss Phil Parkinson made eight changes to the starting XI between both matches.

In terms of Bradford's long term injuries, Kyel Reid (that is not a typo) and Zavon Hines are out until around Christmas with groin and ankle injuries, respectively. Andrew Davies is out until the New Year with a knee problem, while Luke Oliver is out for the season with an Achilles injury.

Current Form

This is an image from a 1-0 Bradford City win over
Torquay United that was not this weekend's 1-0 Bradford
City win over Torquay United. But, it's really hard to find
pictures of League Two matches.
Arsenal got a much needed 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, but their road form still leaves much to be desired, considering Arsenal have upcoming trips to Reading and Wigan, both winnable, in the league. Arsenal's 7-5 win over Reading in the last round of the Capital One Cup marks the last time the Gunners have won on the road, across all competitions. Since then, they lost at Old Trafford and Olympiacos and have drawn at Schalke, Aston Villa, and Everton. The Gunners have won once on the road in their last seven road games.

Bradford City have only lost twice at home this season, to the likes of Port Vale and Exeter City, and currently sit fourth in League Two. The top three teams promote automatically in League Two, meaning the Bantams are three points short of auto-promotion, behind the likes of Gillingham, Port Vale, and Cheltenham.

In the second round proper of the FA Cup, Bradford City picked up a 1-1 draw with Brentford, with the replay scheduled for next week; however, the Bantams have been charged with fielding an ineligible player (Curtis Good, on loan from Newcastle) and have been expelled from the competition. Bradford is currently appealing the decision. Good was not registered on Bradford's roster by noon on the day of the game in which he played, leading to the claim of ineligibility.

Match Facts

This image is actually from the 1-1
draw in September of 2000.
Bradford City most recently spent two years in the top flight in 1999/2000 and 2000/01, during which Arsenal failed to win at Valley Parade. In September of 2000, Arsenal picked up a 1-1 draw (the equalizer being Ashley Cole's first Arsenal goal); in February of 2000, Bradford won 2-1.

This means you have to go back to 1922 to find the last time Arsenal won away against Bradford City. The Gunners have only won away to Bradford three times, but bear in mind, there's a really small sample size to select from here. While most recently winning at Bradford in 1922, Arsenal also won matches there in 1904 and 1910.

Arsenal and Bradford have never met in the League Cup before, but have met three times in the FA Cup, with Arsenal winning two (1962 and 1973) and Bradford winning one (1914.)

Bradford City have never advanced past this round of the League Cup.

The Referee

The referee is Wirral-based Mike Dean. Please excuse me for a moment while I go panic about this...


Okay, glad I got that out of my system. Arsenal's record with Mike Dean is, as you might know, terrible. Every time Arsenal draws Mike Dean as the referee, I pull out their run of form with him in the middle, which is now D-D-L-D-L-D-L-L-W-L-L-D-L-W-L-D-D-L. That is two wins from 18. The latter two are from this season, both matches in Manchester, as Arsenal drew 1-1 at City and lost 2-1 at United. What an unbelievably dreadful record.

You have to go all the way back to the Invincibles season, 2003/04, to find the last time Mike Dean was the referee for a Bradford City match (I envy them, in this respect.) It was on September 20, 2003 in the old First Division (now the Championship.) Bradford lost 4-0 at Turf Moor against Burnley that day. The Bantams were relegated that season into what would then become League One.

Around the Fifth Round

"I got this."
We're down to the quarterfinals, meaning there are a total of four match-ups in this round. There'll be one more drawing after this round, with paired up sides meeting in a two-legged semi-final in January. The final is held at Wembley at the end of February.

In addition to Bradford v. Arsenal today, Norwich hosts Aston Villa at Carrow Road, as Paul Lambert comes back to town seven points and four places in the table behind his former employers. Lambert has already faced Norwich once this year, at Villa Park at the end of October. Norwich got a 79th minute equalizer, but could not beat 10-man Villa, as the match ended 1-1. There's a Premier League match today, too, as Sunderland hosts Reading in the make-up of a game that was postponed due to pitch conditions in August.

Tomorrow, Swansea hosts Middlesbrough in Wales in another quarterfinal, but the fourth and final cup tie won't be played until next Wednesday, as Leeds hosts Chelsea at Elland Road. This postponement is because Chelsea, technically Champions of Europe/Third Place Champions League Group Finishers, are taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. They'll face Monterrey on Thursday at 5:30 a.m. Eastern time.