After walking away from the clash with Manchester City without points, Arsenal and its supporters were eager to move on through the League Cup semi-final. Then that was canceled just a day before the match, leaving the Gunners with a Liverpool-Tottenham-Liverpool trio of matches in short order. But first, it’s one of English football’s best weekends. The FA Cup Third Round. Arsenal have had extra rest & now Gabriel misses this tie against Nottingham Forest rather than Liverpool.
While it’s been over two decades since these two sides faced off in the league, there have been a trio of meetings in the two cup competitions. Arsenal won twice in the League Cup by a combined scoreline of 9-0, but in 2018 fell 4-2 in the FA Cup, the last time the Gunners failed to advance past the third round.
Forest are currently 9th in the Championship and had a nine-match unbeaten streak heading into the holiday fixtures. But they enter the weekend coming off back-to-back losses to two fellow playoff position contenders. Despite the dip, Mikel Arteta will be expecting a hostile crowd and a fast opening 15 minutes as Forest look to capture some of the fabled ‘FA magic’.
- Aaron Ramsdale
- Kieran Tierney
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Calum Chambers
- Pablo Mari
- Charlie Patino
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Folarin Balogun
- Alexandre Lacazette
- Left Out: Arthur Okonkwo, Sead Kolasinac (returning from injury & potential January transfer) & Ainsley Maitland-Niles (expected loan to Roma)
- Out: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (AFCON), Mohamed Elneny (AFCON), Thomas Partey (AFCON), Pepe (AFCON), Gabriel (Red Card) & Sead Kolasinac (left ankle).
- Even with Arsenal on the road at City Stadium, the Gunners should be able to rotate the defense. However, the downside to that approach would be the key starters playing Liverpool-Tottenham-Liverpool over the course of a week.
- While Eddie Nketiah has been Mr. Carabao Cup for Arsenal this season, the change in the schedule could disrupt his streak of starts in the competition. Alexandre Lacazette up top would be preferred at Anfield. So Nketiah gets the start in the FA Cup, with potentially one foot out the door as his contract winds down.
- Another option for Arteta would be to start Folarin Balogun on the right side of the attack and rest Bukayo Saka. If Arsenal still needs a goal late in the match, Saka could come off the bench and still be fresh for the first leg against Liverpool next week. Either Balogun or Nketiah could then play up top, giving Arsenal a fluid attacking quartet.
How to watch
Sunday (1/9) at 12:10 pm ET / 9:10 am PT on ESPN+.
Arsenal - 2
Nottingham Forest - 0