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Arsenal at Leicester City Carabao Cup preview: who cares?

The water buffalo/energy drink cup is back. Joy.

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Kalanguya Tribesmen Celebrate Annual Festival In The Philippines
The animal in this picture is a carabao.

Arsenal travel to Leicester City tomorrow for a Carabao Cup 3rd round tie, at least as of right now. The Gunners have said that the three positive COVID-19 tests at West Ham (who Arsenal played at the weekend) will not affect things. The entire Arsenal squad were tested on Monday, and all the tests came back negative on Tuesday.

In case you were wondering, the header for this post is a carabao. The carabao is a domestic water buffalo native to the Philippines. Carabao Tawandang Co. Ltd. is the Thai company that sponsors the League Cup, and Carabao Energy Drink is the 2nd most popular energy drink in Thailand. It feels like there’s a “missed connection” here between Carabao and Jamie Vardy. Just a thought. Anyway.

Leicester have started the Premier League season well, beating West Brom 3-0 and Burnley 4-2. I’ve been particularly impressed by new right back Timothy Castagne’s offensive contributions for the Foxes. That said, it’s easy to get forward as a fullback when they’re isn’t much attacking threat from the opposition. I’ll be interested to see how he handles Arsenal’s left-side-heavy attack should he get the nod tomorrow.

It’s really hard for me to get excited about the Carabao Cup in a normal season. Yeah, silverware is silverware and all that, and it’s always nice to watch the guys down the depth chart and some of the younger players meaningful minutes. But with the condensed schedule and fixture congestion this season, rest is at a premium. Arsenal are likely to need to use guys further down the roster in Premier and Europa League matches, so I’m not going to bat an eye if Arsenal go out of the Carabao tomorrow.

Cedric Soares, who likely would have gotten the start to give Hector Bellerin a rest, is being held out as a precaution because of a calf injury. Kieran Tierney, who was a late scratch at the weekend because of a tight left groin muscle, is out but should be back in full training before the end of the week. Sokratis is out with a calf injury; he’s expected back in training later this week. Emile Smith Rowe picked up a shoulder injury in training and should be back sometime in the next 10 days. The long-term injuries are unchanged.

Leicester will be without fullback Ricardo Pereira and centerbacks Jonny Evans and Filip Benkovic.

Make sure to check out Nathan’s predicted XI. It’s a spicy one.

WHAT: Arsenal at Leicester City, Carabao Cup 3rd round
WHERE: King Power Stadium
WHEN: Wednesday, September 23rd 11:45 AM PT | 2:45 PM ET | 7:45 PM BT
US TV: Streaming on ESPN+.

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