No matter what Arsenal fans think of the matter, Mikel Arteta is usually expected to be rotating the Arsenal team to face Brom, despite the risk of losing a third game in a row. I will certainly be waiting expectantly to see which starting XI he chooses (and who has recovered from Covid!)
The boss told Arsenal.com ahead of tonight’s match; “Yeah, let’s see who is available again. We had some knocks and stuff from the game and players that need minutes and want minutes, and it’s a competition obviously that we want to fight for. We need a win as well.”
But whoever Arteta chooses, he will be pleased to hear that the West Brom manager Valerien Ismael says he is ready to give youth a chance in tonight’s game, so we can be hopeful of a win.
Ismael told the ExpressAndStar: “Our priority is clear – that’s the Championship,” he said.
“The League Cup is an official competition, it will give us the possibility to give players who haven’t played a lot to play, to make sure they come onto the next XI like the others, and for the young players to show up.
“We need to have an overview of the squad, the best way is to see the players in competition.
“This is a new competition, and a new chance to see the young players on that level against a top side.
“It doesn’t change anything for us, from minute one we want to see our principle, our intensity, and this is the message for the game – it doesn’t matter who is on the pitch, we want the West Brom identity.”
“Arsenal is a top team, we are early into the season so I never judge the last result,” said Ismael.
“It’s all about the next game. When you know in football that everything is possible in the two directions – just stay focused on your game, focus on your job, what you have to do. It’ll be tough for sure, but it’s all about our principle.
“It’s important we show our identity, even when we play with other players, it doesn’t matter.
“We need to give that feeling that everyone is important.
“We need to make sure they’re all playing on the same level. They need, for sure, minutes and it’s a big chance for us to put all the players on the same level.”
“It’s all about the performance, before we were talking about results, but Arsenal is all about the performance.
“We know if we put in the performance, we’ll win more games than we lose. This is the first thing we’re looking for on the pitch – it’s also important that our fans have an overview of the squad.
“We have really good young players at the club, they need to show up and we need to show them in real conditions, a real game against a big club, to see exactly what they are able to perform.
“This is the two things for the game – focus on ourselves and give the chances for the young players to show up.”
So I am sure that on paper Arsenal should be able to beat the West Brom reserves whichever team Arteta chooses, but there is probably a big difference in confidence between the sides as West Brom have got off to a flying start in the Championship and haven’t lost in the last 8 games, 4 League and 4 friendlies, whereas Arsenal have been suffering, as we all know.
Fingers crossed we can break our duck tonight against West Brom’s kids…