The home support for Arsenal remained strong early in this season as more than 56,000 fans packed into The Emirates for the Gunners’ Carabao Cup tie against League One’s AFC Wimbledon. Mikel Arteta played a strong senior squad, with Karl Hein on the bench being the only U23 player to make the 18. An early penalty drawn by Martinelli and put away by Lacazette may have given Arsenal a quick advantage, but it took well into the second half for the home side to put away their lower division opponents. Second-half goals by Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah sealed the result and send Arsenal into the final 16 of the Carabao Cup.
After the matches on Wednesday, the Fourth Round draw took place with Arsenal seeing their name lined up with fellow Premier League side Leeds United. The Gunners will once again get to host in the next round. Premier League sides make up 12 of the remaining 16 clubs, with three from the Championship, and League One’s Sunderland representing the lowest club left in the competition.
Leeds United entered in the Second Round beating Crewe Alexandra (League One) 3-0 but had a much more difficult time in the Third Round. Fulham (Championship) took Leeds to penalities after a nil-nil in regulation, but the Premier League side survived 6-to-5 on PKs.
A few highlights from the Arsenal manager’s comments after the match,
“[Thomas Partey] hasn’t played a lot of minutes since he’s been injured. We believe the rhythm of matches is nothing like any training session. I think it was very beneficial for him......[Charlie Patino] was very close, but we decided as well that some players needed minutes and it will happen naturally in time.....Now the boys have won three matches in a row so credit for how they have handled that situation and now they are really looking forward to playing on Sunday, which is the biggest day of the season for us so far at home.”
Captain on the night, Alex Lacazette spoke with the media about the support inside the Emirates Wednesday night and moving forward in the Cup.
“Honestly I was surprised to see that many fans tonight for the game. We are happy and we enjoy it when they are there...We want to go as far as we can in this competition, we want to win, in this kind of game we have to make it easy.”
Arsenal will host Leeds United either on October 26th or 27th. Fans found themselves in the rare situation yesterday without a way to watch the match. However, with fewer matches in the Fourth Round (8 in total), split over two days, and a tie featuring two Premier League clubs that likely will not happen again. The Gunners return to action Sunday in the first North London Derby of the season.