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Birmingham City out to shock Arsenal at Wembley

The cup competitions have give Birmingham City fans some light relief from a long battle with relegation, but now they face the ultimate test against Arsenal in the Carling Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

Alex McLeish's men overcame West Ham in the semi-finals to book their first Wembley cup final appearance in 55 years.

Birmingham still sit only three points clear of relegation in the league but have been defeated only once in their six matches in all competitions. Still they remain 13/2 outsiders to be victorious at Wembley.

Last time out they beat League One Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 in the FA Cup to keep confidence high, and they have more recovery time to prepare for Sunday's final.

There are fears for McLeish over Belarusian midfielder Alexander Hleb after he injured his knee in the win over Wednesday. The former Arsenal man left the field on a stretcher and faces a rush against time to be back in time for the final.

Martin Jiranek and Liam Ridgewell are both concerns for the boss, while Curtis Davies has also been struggling with a knee injury recently.

Birmingham fans will be hoping Nikola Zigic could pose a massive threat to an Arsenal defence who have been shown over the years to struggle with crosses. He is 11/1 to be the first goalscorer.

With a makeshift back four and inexperienced keeper than the giant Serbian is likely to torment the Gunners defenders, while Obafemi Martins or Camerone Jerome could cause problems with their pace.

Arsenal scraped past Stoke in the Premier League in midweek thanks to a goal from unlikely scoring hero Sebastien Squillaci. But that game caused more problems for Wenger as injuries mounted up.

Winger Theo Walcott is definitely out of the game after spraining his ankle, but more worrying is the absence of captain Cesc Fabregas. The loss of these two key players would be a huge blow for Gunners fans but they remain 4/7 favourites with bookmakers to lift the trophy.

With games coming thick and fast for Arsenal it remains to be seen what type of side Wenger will put out at Wembley. Robin Van Persie will captain the Gunners in the game and he is 15/4 to score the first goal.

But this game provides the Gunners with a great chance to win their first piece of silverware in five long years and finally get that monkey off their back.



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