Arsenal play host to Sunderland today in a Carabao Cup Quarterfinal matchup. The Gunners have not faced the Black Cats since the 2016-17 season, when Arsenal won both Premier League meetings. Since then, Sunderland has fallen all the way down to League One, where they currently sit 3rd in the table.
Mikel Arteta has picked a heavily rotated side for the Gunners with only two first-choice players starting: Emile Smith Rowe (who has been more of a super-sub since returning from injury) Ben White, and Martin Ødegaard. Youth player Charlie Patino is on the bench and, should the Gunners be leading, may get a runout. The rest of the bench is first team regulars.
Seas Kolasinac is injured for Arsenal. He has returned to running outdoors since his ankle injury but is still a ways away. Pablo Mari, Sambi Lokonga, and Calum Chambers have all tested positive for COVID and will miss out. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is out with a non-COVID illness.
Arteta has done well to rotate his side ahead of the busy Christmas period, especially with the spectre of possible additional COVID-positives ruling players out. Right now, if you can rest guys, rest them because there could come a point over the next few weeks where you can’t without significantly weakening the squad / forcing a U23 player into the lineup. A shot at silverware is nice, but Arsenal’s focus should be fully on the Premier League table.
Arsenal - Leno, Cedric, White, Holding, Tavares, Elneny, Ødegaard, Smith Rowe, Pépé, Nketiah, Balogun
TEAM NEWS!— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 21, 2021
Elneny in midfield
Holding in defence
Let's do this, Gunners! #CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/gfXagWG4oh
Sunderland - Burge, Winchester, Wright, Flanagan, Doyle, Gooch, Embleton, Neil, Pritchard, Broadhead, Stewart
Lee Johnson's starting XI to take on @Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium #SAFC I #CarabaoCup— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) December 21, 2021
WHAT - Arsenal vs. Sunderland, Carabao Cup Quarterfinal
WHERE - The Emirates
WHEN - Tuesday, December 21st 11:45 am PT | 2:45 pm ET | 7:45 pm BT
US TV - Streaming on ESPN+.
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