Arsenal welcome Leeds United to the Emirates today for a Carabao Cup Round of 16 tilt. The Gunners are riding high, coming off a convincing 3-1 win over Aston Villa at the weekend and in the midst of a 7-match unbeaten run. Leeds have struggled a bit to start the season and sit just three points outside the relegation zone, which is surprising because they haven’t been playing poorly per se. They’ve just not been able to win matches, racking up 4 draws in the Premier League.
The big question, as it always is with midweek matches, is how much the managers will rotate their sides. With no European competition clogging the upcoming schedule, the Gunners don’t need to rotate too heavily. I expect anybody who is carrying a knock will get a rest and that some of the backups / usual first subs will get a start. But beyond that, I expect Mikel Arteta to pick a relatively strong starting lineup. Winning the Carabao Cup, while not as prestigious as the FA Cup, is a reasonable and achievable goal for the club this season.
On the other side of things, I saw reports on Twitter that Leeds were bringing a “weakened” squad to the Emirates. Leeds are away to Norwich at the weekend and will absolutely want to take full points off the bottom-dwellers, so it makes sense that Marcelo Bielsa might not go all-out at the Emirates this evening.
Bielsa will be without Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling, Junior Firpo, and Robin Koch. Raphina picked up a slight knock at the weekend but said it was “nothing serious” and will likely be available for selection. Kalvin Phillips, who missed time with an injury, was an unused substitute against Wolves this past weekend, and could get a run-out.
Mikel Arteta may decided (or be forced to) rest Kieran Tierney again, who was held out against Aston Villa with a slight shin issue. Granit Xhaka is still out long-term.
Make sure you check out our Q&A with Through It All Together, the SBNation Leeds blog, and our responses to their questions, as well as Nathan’s Predicted XI.
Arsenal - Leno, Cedric, White, Holding, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Pépé, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Nketiah
TEAM NEWS!— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 26, 2021
@Bernd_Leno in goal
@ElNenny starts in midfield
@G_Martinelli01 up front#CarabaoCup
Leeds - Meslier, Dallas, Struijk, Llorente, Drameh, Phillips, Forshaw, Harrison, Roberts, James, Rodrigo
Marcelo makes four changes for tonight's clash, with Cody Drameh making his #LUFC debut pic.twitter.com/e0Tr5sVRAM— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 26, 2021
WHAT: Arsenal vs. Leeds United, Carabao Cup Round of 16
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Tuesday, October 26th, 11:45 am PT | 2:45 pm ET | 7:45 pm BST
US TV: Streaming on ESPN+ ($$$)
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