Fabregas fears Town will be dangerous opponents

ARSENAL captain Cesc Fabregas fears that the struggling Ipswich Town might be ‘dangerous’ opponents in tonight’s Carling Cup semi-final first leg at Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm).

After Town’s 7-0 thumping by Chelsea in the FA Cup on Sunday, which was their biggest ever defeat in any cup competition, they go into tonight’s live televised game with a certain amount of trepidation.

And Arsenal are in the mood to capitalise having taken the Carling Cup seriously with manager Arsene Wenger intent on winning a trophy or two this campaign after six barren years.

The long-serving Gunners boss selected strong sides for their tough run of matches in this competition with a 4-1 win at Tottenham, a 4-0 success at Newcastle and a 2-0 home victory over Wigan.

Fabregas is expected to start on the bench and the World Cup winner with Spain said: “Although Ipswich are a Championship team, that can make them even more dangerous.

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“Their motivation will be very high - these will be the biggest two games of their year.

“They will be desperate to beat us, they will want to show their strengths, and their motivation will be as high as possible.

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“If we want to get through we will have to match that motivation, if not raise it further.”

Striker Nicklas Bendtner, who will be 23 on Sunday, confirmed thoughts in the Arsenal camp that success in the Carling Cup can boost chances of winning the Premier League.

“Last season, Manchester United won it and went on to take the Premier League too,” said Bendtner, who is expected to be one of many ‘senior’ players included tonight.

“Let’s hope we can do the same.

“We need to make sure we go to Wembley and keep our run going. For me, we have to get to the final.

“It would be fantastic to win a trophy at this stage of the season and have something to show for our work.”

Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles), Manuel Almunia (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf) and Sebastien Squillaci (hamstring) are all sidelined through injury while Bacary Sagna is serving a suspension.

Wenger fielded a youthful side on Monday when his reserve side was thrashed 10-1 by Aston Villa suggesting that he might go for a less ‘senior’ side than in previous rounds of the Carling Cup.

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