Arsenal travel to The Hawthorns to take on just-relegated West Bromwich Albion in the 2nd round of the Carabao Cup today. The Baggies sit second in the Championship on goal difference and are in-form: 3 wins and a draw to open the season. Arsenal sit 19th in the Premier League (also on goal difference) and have lost both of their matches this season.
The two clubs are separated by two spots in the football pyramid.
The Gunners desperately need a win. Well, first they need to score a goal. Then, hopefully, score more goals. And then be in the lead when the final whistle blows. This club needs that special tonic that only winning can provide.
Arsenal and West Brom faced off twice in the Premier League last season, and the Gunners ran it up both times: 4-0 and 3-1. I’d like to think they’ll do the same today, but a lot of that depends on the lineup that Mikel Arteta trots out. How strong does he go?
Some players — Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney, and Gabriel Martinelli chief among them — need the rest. Martin Ødegaard could do with some playing time to settle back into the Arsenal shirt and is available for selection according to the club. I don’t think Mikel can afford to go too conservative / rotational because the environment around the club might turn positively toxic if they lose today.
The Gunners will definitely be without Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah, who are both working back from ankle injuries. Gabriel Magalhaes has returned to training following his summer knee problem but isn’t ready either. Ben White is not out of COVID protocol. Willian is still being monitored, but given that he’s likely on his way to Corinthians, I doubt he is on the bench. Alex Runarsson is back in training, but Bernd Leno will probably back up Aaron Ramsdale. Hector Bellerin’s thigh problem is being assessed ahead of the match.
West Brom should only be without defender Matt Clarke, who has a hamstring problem.
PREDICTION: 3-1 to Arsenal. But don’t put too much stock in that, I’m 0 for 2 so far this season.
Arsenal - Ramsdale, Tavares, Chambers, Holding, Kolasinac, Elneny, Xhaka, Odegaard, Pepe, Saka, Aubameyang
Tonight's lineup is in...— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 25, 2021
Ramsdale makes his debut
Odegaard starts in midfield
Aubameyang leads the line
West Brom - Palmer, Shotton, Kipre, Taylor, Ingram, Snodgrass, Castro, Reach, Fellows, Zohore, Tulloch
Team news is in at The Hawthorns. We make 11 changes, with five Baggies set to make their debuts.— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) August 25, 2021
Good luck, lads!
Intouch Games Ltd | #WBA
WHAT: Arsenal at West Bromwich Albion, Carabao Cup 2nd Round
WHERE: The Hawthorns
WHEN: Wednesday, August 25th 12 PM PT | 3 PM ET | 8 PM BST
US TV: Not broadcast. Streaming on ESPN+ ($$$).
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