The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Arsenal v Doncaster preview

We start our Carabao Cup campaign on Wednesday when we take on League One side Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium. 

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox analyses our opponents’ strengths, dangermen and areas we can target.


Darren Ferguson might not have the glittering record of his father, but he’s established himself as a fine Football League manager with an impressive track record. Having achieved back-to-back promotions and won the Football League Trophy during two spells with Peterborough United, he led Doncaster to promotion from League Two last season, at the first time of asking.  


While not renowned as a particularly keen tactician, Ferguson is likely to vary his approach on Wednesday evening, moving away from the 4-4-2 that is his default system in League One, for fear of his players being overrun in midfield.  


Doncaster are likely to use a traditional lower-league approach – they’ll sit deep and soak up pressure, depending upon set-pieces and counter-attacks. Lone forward John is a good penalty box striker adept at close-range finishes and getting on the end of crosses.  


Midfielder James Coppinger is a Doncaster legend, having been at the club since 2004. At 36 he retains his intelligence in possession and drives forward dangerously, but isn’t particularly capable of covering ground when the ball is lost. 


Doncaster’s full-backs are good technically for a League One side, but are attack-minded and might be exposed in one-against-one situations out wide.


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