Arsenal advance to the 4th round of the Carabao Cup with today’s 2-0 win over Leicester City. This match looked about as you’d expect one between a team with 7 changes from the preferred 11 (Arsenal) and a wholly changed 11 (Leicester) would. Lots of running, high energy and effort levels, but not much quality.
The Gunners had the better of the action in the first half, and probably should have gone in ahead. Bukayo Saka looked to have won a penalty, but it wasn’t given. Reiss Nelson had a handful of chances but couldn’t find the final ball. Leicester did hit the post through James Maddison, though.
The second half was a bit more even. Arsenal took the lead when, off a disorganized scramble in the area, Nicolas Pepe found himself on a tight angle in behind Leicester keeper Danny Ward. Pepe’s shot hit the post but bounced off Christian Fuchs for an own goal that he really couldn’t do anything about.
Ayoze Perez had a chance to equalize on what turned out to be Leicester’s best and only real chance of the half, but he missed a somewhat-difficult header at the near post. Eddie Nketiah sealed the win in the 90th minute, bumbling the ball home as he tumbled to the ground. The goal was created by Hector Bellerin skinning two defenders and helped by the other Foxes’ defenders switching off somewhat shockingly.
I thought David Luiz and Mohamed Elneny both had solid games. Reiss Nelson was involved in the attack and looked dangerous, but couldn’t quite find that last bit of quality to create / score a goal. Nketiah had a good game, too — he was an off-the-line clearance away from a brace. Arsenal’s best player on the evening was Bukayo Saka. He drove the Arsenal offense. I’d like to see him get a chance to play a more central, freer, creator role going forward. He has shown the quality, and Arsenal have a dearth of invention in the attack.
The Gunners will likely face Liverpool next week at Anfield for the 4th round tie, probably on Thursday, October 1st. The Reds knocked Arsenal out of the cup last season at this same stage on penalties after a 5-5 thriller. Arsenal travel to Merseyside on Monday to play Liverpool in the Premier League.