Arsenal will look to continues their momentum run form when they take on Leicester City in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Following an impressive end to the 2019-20 campaign with FA Cup claimed, Mikel Arteta & co. have been on fire in the new season, winning each of their three matches in all three so far, including a win over Liverpool in the Community Shield (albeit via penalty shootout).
In the Premier League, they are coming on the back of two consecutive win over Fulham and West Ham United. However, on Wednesday night, they will face a tricky test against Leicester City in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
On paper, at least, the north London side have appeared quite unlucky to be drawn against a club like Leicester in the third round. But, they have been in remarkable form under Mikel Arteta, with defensive solidity emerging as one of their biggest assets.
For Leicester City on the other hand, they unlike Fulham and West Ham United, boast the services of one of the most lethal attacking units in the league, having already scored seven goals in their opening two matches in the Premier League.
Brendan Rodgers’s side will also have the home advantage on Wednesday, so it won’t be surprising to see them dominate the proceedings, with Mikel Arteta employing a more defensive tactics. And here, at Sportarena, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this enticing match-up in the Carabao Cup this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
Brendan Rodgers has confirmed, ahead of the match, that he is going to ring in the changes, with the Foxes boss keeping one eye on the important fixture against Manchester City on the weekend.
Cengiz Under, who signed from AS Roma recently, will be hoping to make his debut for the Foxes, although he is unlikely to be a part of the starting lineup. Demarai Gray is set to occupy his role at left wing, with Marc Albrighton starting on the opposite flank.
England hitman Jamie Vardy may also be rested, paying the way for Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho to spearhead the Leicester City attack.
However, another key player in James Maddison could make his return to the starting lineup, after featuring as a substitute in their last two matches.
The English international may feature alongside Nampalys Mendy in the double pivot as boss Brendan Rodgers generally tends to shift to a back-three against clubs that employ a similar formation.
It essentially means that we may see Timothy operating at right wing-back, especially with Ricardo Pereira injured. Luke Thomas may get the nod ahead of James Justin and Christian Fuchs on the opposite flank.
And in central defense, the Foxes are still missing Jonny Evans while Filip Benkovic is out injured. It means midfielder Wilfred Ndidi may once again have to feature at centre-back, forming the three-man back-line alongside Caglar Soyuncu and Wes Morgan. They will look to provide cover for goalkeeper Danny Ward.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Ward; Morgan, Ndidi, Soyuncu; Castagne, Mendy, Maddison, Thomas; Albrighton, Iheanacho,Gray
We may see some new faces at Arsenal this mid-week as boss Mikel Arteta also looks to ring in the changes before his team trip to Anfield stadium to take on Premier League champions, Liverpool, on Monday.
William Saliba is a huge favourite to make his Arsenal debut after failing to make the team in the last couple of matches. David Luiz could also return to starting lineup, while Kieran Tierney, who knock against West Ham United, could be rested, paving the way for Rob Holding to retain his place at centre-back.
There could be one change in goal as well,with new signing Runar Alex Runarsson replacing Bernd Leno. The Iceland international has joined from Dijon and is the desired replacement for Emiliano Martinez. Matt Macey is the alternative should Runarsson fail to make himself available against Leicester City.
In midfield, Mohamed Elneny could come into the fray, giving Granit Xhaka a much-needed rest. The Egyptian international is likely to partner Dani Ceballos in the double pivot, with Mikel Arteta lacking any other reliable alternatives, although we might see playmaker Mesut Ozil make the 18 for the first time in a while.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Cedric Soares are the obvious picks in the wing-back positions. They will replace Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka, although the latter is likely to shift into the more attacking role on the left flank, replacing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
With Saka featuring at left wing, Nicolas Pepe should operate on the opposite flank at the expense of Willian. And finally, the Arsenal attack could be spearheaded by Eddie Nketiah, who will be full of confidence after scoring a late winner against West Ham United last weekend.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3):Runarsson; Holding, Luiz, Saliba; Cedric, Elneny, Ceballos, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Nketiah, Saka
- In all competitions, Leicester City haven’t lost to Arsenal at home since 2015 in a 2-5 defeat (P5 W3 D1 L1).
- In the last two meetings at home, Leicester City have maintained a clean sheet and scored two or more goals in both matches (3-0 in 2019/20, 2-0 in 2018/19).
- Arsenal are currently on a five-match winning streak dating back to the end of last season. But, the Gunners have let in at least one goal in four of those fixtures.
- Leicester City have gotten to the quarter-finals in every League cup since 2017/18, last losing their opening fixture in the 2016/17 season against Chelsea in extra time.
- The Gunners last failed to pass the third round in the League Cup in 2014/15 against Southampton and last entered a finals stage (i.e. quarter-finals onwards) in 2018/19.
As iterated earlier, Saliba could make his Arsenal debut after surprisingly not featuring in the first two matches of the campaign. It could be an important game for the Frenchman as boss Mikel Arteta looks to deal with an injury crisis that sees players like Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers spending time on the sidelines.
Arsenal, as a result, have had to persist with Rob Holding in defence. So if someone like Saliba can step up for the Gunners, he could become an asset on the right side of the back-three, with Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney comprising the rest of the three-man unit.
Not to mention, a strong performance against Leicester City this midweek could aid William Saliba himself, boosting his confidence as he looks to make an impact in English football.