Arsenal are set to square up against their North London rivals Tottenham at Emirates on Wednesday in the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup.
Not really the best of times for Unai Emery to be preparing his Arsenal side for the Carabao Quarter-Final against Tottenham. The Gunners saw their 22-match unbeaten run ended by relegation-threatened Southampton during the weekend. The fact that the Saints had a new manager in Ralph Hasenhuttl on the sidelines would hurt even more, with players likely to take some time to adapt to his tactics.
But, Arsenal have looked good this season and Emery would see the defeat as part of the process. The manager will now be looking for a response from his men against Tottenham on Wednesday. Speaking of Spurs, there will be concerns regarding the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino, especially with the Manchester United managerial seat vacant now.
Tottenham eked out a 1-0 win over Burnley during the weekend and find themselves in the Premier League title race, with current leaders Liverpool six points away. Spurs will be aware that despite their growth within the footballing world and the English footballing scene, they are still contenders and have not managed to etch their name on any trophy under Pochettino.
The two teams have already met once earlier in the season, with Arsenal running out 4-2 winners, thanks to goals from Lucas Torreira, Alexandre Lacazette and a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Before Arsenal and Tottenham take to the pitch at Emirates for the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup, we take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Emile Smith-Rowe remain sidelined for the foreseeable future. Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are nearing full fitness and will be assessed before the match. As far as Hector Bellerin is concerned, the Arsenal defender suffered a knock in the 3-2 loss to Southampton and is likely to not be risked during the midweek.
Petr Cech should start in goal for Arsenal.
With so many full-backs missing, Unai Emery should continue using a back three for now. Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis are both expected to return to the starting eleven after missing the Southampton tie. Laurent Koscielny will complete the back three on Wednesday.
Up ahead in midfield, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira should start. But, there is a case that could be made for Granit Xhaka to take Guendouzi’s place, owing to experience. Nacho Monreal is almost certain to start on the left side of the four-man midfield, with Stephan Lichtsteiner stationed on the right.
Aaron Ramsey should assume his position in the number 10 role behind the strikers, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette starting upfront.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Cech; Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny; Lichtsteiner, Torreira, Xhaka, Monreal; Ramsey; Lacazette, Aubameyang
Victor Wanyama, Vincent Janssen and Mousa Dembele are already on the sidelines and have been joined by Eric Dier, who is set to be out till the turn of the year. Serge Aurier, Juan Foyth and Davinson Sanchez are struggling to be match fit, but would hope to play a part in the crucial Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal.
At the back, Jan Vertonghen should return to partner Toby Alderweireld in the central defensive partnership, after the former was rested during the weekend win over Burnley. Ben Davies will move to the left in his natural position, with Kieran Trippier stationed on the right side of the defence.
Harry Winks will also come into the lineup, with the midfielder also rested during the weekend. Winks should be partnered by Moussa Sissoko, with Eric Dier also injured. Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min were partly rested against Burnley and should start against Arsenal.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane will continue to remain key players in attack, especially in the North London derby.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Winks, Sissoko; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane
1. Tottenham lost their last away game against Arsenal in a cup competition, in the 2014-15 FA Cup.
2. Tottenham have a poor away record against Arsenal, with their last win coming in May 1993.
3. Tottenham have failed to score in just one of their last five games at Arsenal in all competitions.
4. Arsenal have won all of their last seven home games in the Carabao Cup.
5. Harry Kane has not played in a Carabao Cup fixture after the 2-1 loss to Arsenal in September 2015.
Player to Watch
In the absence of the first-choice midfielders, Moussa Sissoko is guaranteed to start in midfield for Tottenham. The former Newcastle United man will be key to Tottenham’s fortunes. Sissoko will be tasked with the prospect of strangling the Arsenal midfield while creating chances of his own.
The midfield battle often decides the result of the game. And on Wednesday, we could see Sissoko starting to live up to the potential on the back of which he was signed by Tottenham in the first place.
Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham
Mauricio Pochettino will still have the 4-2 defeat at the back of his mind when facing Arsenal in the Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals. While the central midfield still poses problems due to injuries to key personnel, the manager will hope to take advantage of Arsenal’s recent defeat against Southampton.
As far as Unai Emery is concerned, he will be hoping for his side to provide a reaction on the pitch after the disappointing result against Southampton. It will be a scoring affair as usual, with the two teams likely to be on full throttle. But, we expect Tottenham to prevail over Arsenal in the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup.