Lucas Perez is back in the squad for tomorrow’s EFL Cup quarterfinal against Southampton. The Spaniard has been out with an ankle injury he picked up five weeks ago during Arsenal’s fourth-round win over Reading.
The striker’s return is a boon considering Olivier Giroud will be sitting out this round of the cup with a groin injury. Aside from Lucas, Arsene Wenger told Arsenal.com he expects the squad to be mostly first-team players.
“Lucas is in the squad [which] will have a mixture of youth and experience, but still 90 percent of the first-team squad,” Wenger said.
Giroud joins his countryman and world’s unluckiest right-back, Mathieu Debuchy, who sustained a hamstring injury in the early minutes of this weekend’s clash with Bournemouth—more than a year since his last start. While Lucas seems like a fairly straightforward replacement for Giroud, Arsenal’s right back options are growing slim.
The Boss chose to replace the Frenchman with Gabriel Paulista on Sunday, but it’s possible we could see the likes of Rob Holding or Ainsley Maitland-Niles get the nod tomorrow in a competition that Arsenal has traditionally used to vet more inexperienced players.