Arsenal will play host to Manchester City this evening as we look to book a place in the semi-final of the Caribao Cup, but will do so without some key players.
Both Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed the weekend’s 2-1 loss to Everton, and both remain sidelined with injury. The former is claimed to be working hard in hope of returning to full training in the near future, while the latter could well be back by the weekend as confirmed by Arsenal’s official website.
Gabriel Magalhaes also missed the clash at the weekend, but will be available to return tonight having completed his one-match ban, while Granit Xhaka remains suspended for the third of three fixtures after his red card against Burnley.
Apart from that, we should have a full squad of options available, including the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari who have all featured sparingly since their return from long-term injuries.
Bellerin Mari Gabriel Tierney
Willock Elneny Saka
Nelson Lacazette Aubameyang
While it is hard to predict the manager’s thinking, especially after he revealed very little on his pre-match press conference, many fans will be hoping to see Folarin Balogun play some sort of role in the clash.
The fact that Laca (and Bellerin) started on the bench against Everton at the weekend tells me he is likely to start this evening however, but there should be room for Balogun on the bench.
I understand that a number of fans may also be keen to see more youngsters starting tonight, including Emile Smith Rowe also, but I think the manager will be worried about the challenge his side will face tonight.
Will the Spaniard take a risk on his youngsters who impressed in the Europa League? Or is there already too much pressure on his side after their run of results domestically?