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Rupert Wyman 25th Feb 2011 - 16:02

It's Gunner be tough for Arsenal

Arsenal are within touching distance of their first trophy since 2005. The Mickey Mouse competition otherwise known as the Carling Cup has put the likes of Middlesbrough and Leicester on the map but it can also rid Arsenal of their trophy hoodoo.

Arsenal will want to win the Carling Cup but it should only wet their appetite, they could go on and land the quadruple. They will fancy their chances in the FA Cup, they are within touching distance of Man Utd in the league and have the upper hand over Barcelona in the Champions League.

They may not have won a trophy in years but they are fighting on all fronts at this moment in time. For Birmingham, it is not fair to look upon the Carling cup as a Mickey Mouse trophy.  They last won a major cup in 1963 but they need to consolidate their league status this season.

If they win on Sunday, with their financial security and the opportunity for further cup success on a European and domestic front next season, it could be the perfect tonic they need to attract some fantastic in the summer and help them retain the want away stars like Larsson.

Birmingham are a massive 8/1 to beat Arsenal in ninety minutes at Wembley. Arsenal are 6/10 to win in normal time but that is too short for me. The Gooners have beaten Birmingham twice in the league before this season but Cesc Fabregas will not be fully fit and he is unlikely to play the full match.

They are also without Walcott, so you have to give Birmingham a chance. Arsenal also have the ability to self destruct in the latter stages of competitions in recent years. Birmingham have beaten Chelsea at home this season and managed to get a draw against Man United.

Their midfield player Sebastien Larsson will relish playing against his former club along with Hleb. Both players are quality performers but Alexander is not match fit.  Larsson has scored some wonder goals before and he is not afraid to shoot from distance. He looks good value at 7/1 to score anytime!

Birmingham cannot call upon Bentley because he is cup-tied.  However, Martins is eligible to play and he adds the extra firepower upfront that the Birmingham City fans crave. He is 11/4 to score anytime and 8/1 to score the first.

You can back only Arsenal to score in normal time at 29/20, if you fancy Birmingham to apply the pressure and get a goal, both teams to score is 17/20. Arsenal have grinded winning results of late, they only beat Stoke by the one goal and only drew with Leyton Orient 1-1 in the FA Cup.

It could be a low-scoring affair and under 2.5 goals is available at 10/11, I fancy the under goals because Arsenal will be without the creativity of Fabregas and Walcott.

As with all the biggest and best matches, here at William Hill we have yet another enhanced Match Winner.  The offer will be for the Carling Cup Final to be settled by a penalty shoot out at 10/1. The Gunners can end their trophy drought but they will not find it easy against a Birmingham side desperate for silverware.



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