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Can the Bantams defy logic?

PUBLISHED

10:00 2nd December 2012

by Tony Leighton

Premier League Arsenal are hot favourites to knock League 2 Bradford out of the Capital One Cup, but that's only footballing logic…

Footballing logic says that Premier League giants Arsenal will beat npower League 2 Bradford City in Tuesday evening's Capital One Cup quarter-final at Valley Parade. 

But how many times has logic been made to look foolish in the beautiful game?

Yes, the Gunners sit 65 rungs above their hosts on the English league ladder; yes, they have been in seven of the competition's finals while the Bantams have never reached the semis; and yes, they are desperate to win a major trophy this season having failed to do so for a barren seven years. 

Arsene Wenger's team, currently contesting the Champions League as well as the Capital One Cup, are overwhelming favourites to go through to the last four. 

But that's logic. So now factor in Arsenal's failure to win at Valley Parade in 90 years, Bradford's unbeaten record in any cup competition since January and a packed and hugely partisan crowd that will do everything in their power to help the Bantams pull off a massive shock and create club history.

Arsenal's last visit to Valley Parade, when Bradford were in the Premier League in 2000/01, ended in a 1-1 draw after the Gunners had famously got changed at their hotel because they regarded the dressing rooms at the ground as being too small.

That memory is another little portent that suggests the favourites may not have it all their own way as Phil Parkinson's side look to add another Premier League scalp to their collection after knocking out Wigan Athletic in the last round.

Manager Parkinson, whose fourth in the table team are pushing for promotion as well as Capital One Cup glory, told football-league.co.uk: "Mentioning stuff that might work in our favour doesn't do any harm, and Arsene Wenger certainly won't remember his last visit to the ground with a lot of fondness.

"But there are no players left at either club since those days and we'll be massive underdogs in this cup tie. There's no pressure on us, though - the only pressure will come from within, to produce a performance and give a good account of ourselves.

"Our absolute best might not be enough to win the game, but we've had some terrific victories in the competition this season and we deserve our day in the spotlight."

Bradford have beaten Championship team Watford and League 1 Notts County as well as Wigan in their Capital One Cup run, all three of those games having been away from home while their only Valley Parade outing to date in the competition brought a win against League 2 rivals Burton Albion.

Arsenal have beaten League 1 Coventry City and Premier League Reading to reach the quarter-finals. Manager Wenger often uses cup ties to give young players their chance at senior level but, says Parkinson, this does not significantly weaken them.

The Bantams boss pointed out: "Arsenal hit six goals against Coventry and seven against Reading, so whatever team they put out will be very strong and there's no question that they will have our utmost respect.  

"Because of our success in the cups this is our 31st game of the season, but the players have very good fitness levels and they are absolutely up for this game.

"They'll be playing in front of a packed house and in a terrific atmosphere, and it can be a great night for Bradford City."

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