Arsene Wenger and Jaap Stam are both set to rest key players as Arsenal face Reading in the Round of 16 of the EFL Cup on Tuesday.
Arsene Wenger is likely to opt for squad rotation for the mid-week tie in a bid to provide some rest to key players and in turn offer other players a chance to hone their skills. The Frenchman opted to start Lucas Perez upfront in the last EFL Cup tie against Nottingham Forest while also giving David Ospina and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain starts and the same could unfold on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide are, more or less, confirmed to be a part of the squad and are likely to start against the Royals along with Carl Jenkinson, who has regained match fitness after appearing for the U-23s earlier in the month. Xhaka will serve the second of his two match suspension while Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are lacking fitness.
Wenger has himself said that he hopes to name Olivier Giroud in the 18 but the Frenchman is unlikely to be named in the starting lineup.
Jaap Stam, like his fabled counterpart Arsene Wenger, fielded a rather second string side in their previous round victory over Brighton in the EFL Cup and is likely to do the same with the Manchester United legend’s focus on Reading’s Championship campaign.
Experienced campaigner Chris Gunter is unavailable for Jaap Stam with the right-back suspended after receiving his fifth yellow card over the weekend. This could hand academy graduate Tennai Watson a chance to feature against Arsenal. Yakou Meite and Jake Cooper are likely to sit it out with the Tuesday game coming a week or so too soon for the recovering duo.