The Carabao Cup returns this midweek, and the main feature tonight will be the North London Derby at the Emirates with Arsenal and Tottenham going head to head.
The last time both teams faced off, it was in the Premier League. Arsenal ran off 4-2 winners on the day courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and to come back from a 1-2 position after the first half.
There is no doubt that Tottenham will be out for blood this time around, as qualification for a semi-final spot will be an added incentive to bragging rights.
The Gunners will be looking to return to winning ways after their unbeaten streak was terminated at St Mary’s Stadium last Sunday in the Premier League.
Derbies involving Arsenal and Tottenham usually carry a whole lot of energy and intensity, let alone when elimination from the competition awaits the loser.
It is therefore expected that both teams will have strong squads out on the pitch tonight. A win for either side will be a confidence booster.
So, without much further ado, let’s dive right in shall we?
Predicted Line up for Arsenal
Petr Čech should return to the starting lineup for tonight’s game. With Héctor Bellerín being sidelined with injury, Stephan Lichtsteiner should be just fine slotting into that position.
With Shkodran Mustafi still being assessed ahead of the game, it is likely that he and his partner in crime, Papasthadolus Sokratis will be starting today.
Should Skhodran Mustafi fail to be match fit, then the Arsenal faithful may get to see Laurent Koscielny pair up with Sokratis Papastathopoulos in the centreback positions.
Sead Kolašinac is likely to get the nod ahead of Nacho Monreal in the leftback position, after having recovered from the thigh injury he suffered on Saturday during training.
Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan may flank Aubameyang in the attack, in a 4-3-2-1 hybrid kind of formation.
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The boss had this to say on his mental and preparation towards this match during the pre-match conference:
“Our first idea is that we play with the best players that we can use tomorrow in this derby. The opposition is very big and it’s demanding a big performance from us tomorrow. We can use some young players because we think with a big performance, they can help us win tomorrow… “
As a note of caution he added,
“I said to you that I think showing emotion is very important. I think football is emotion. In a derby, maybe this emotion is greater. When you win it’s amazing, when you lose it’s horrible. Respect is very important. We can show this emotion with respect when we are playing but also when they scored against us, they can show their emotion with their supporters. But with respect. We need to show this emotion when we are playing, when we are winning, because I think football needs this passion.“
It is going to be a very cagey affair but the Gunners should prevail based on home advantage. It is also likely the Boss may give some youngsters a runout today.
Prediction: 3- 1
Competition: Carabao Cup
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Time: 21:00 WAT