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Brentford vs Arsenal: Arteta to give fringe players a chance in EFL Cup

Arsenal take on Brentford in the third round of the Carabao Cup at the Gtech Community Stadium this evening. Here is a preview for the game

We have an all Premier League tie to look forward to as Arsenal take on Brentford in the third round of the Carabao Cup at the Gtech Community Stadium this evening.

The Gunners come into the game off the back of a frustrating 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. The match saw Arsenal let slip a one-goal lead twice as they relinquished more ground to leaders Manchester City. Arsenal opened the scoring thanks to a deflected Bukayo Saka strike that went in off Christian Romero in the 26th minute. Tottenham levelled things up through a fine Hueng-min Son finish just before half-time.

The hosts restored their lead from the penalty spot after Romero handled in the area. Saka made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 2-1 but a calamitous error from Jorginho straight from the restart gifted Tottenham possession and Son bagged the equaliser. Neither team could find a winner so the points were shared at the Emirates Stadium.

That result has left Arsenal sitting joint fourth in the table with Tottenham, and four points adrift of Man City. The defending champions maintained their 100% record with a win over Nottingham Forest, so the Gunners cannot afford to lose when the two sides meet in north London early next month or they could find themselves seven points off the pace in the title race.

Mikel Arteta clearly has other priorities as Arsenal are also back in the Champions League this season, but the Spaniard knows how important it is for the club to win a trophy this season and the Carabao Cup could be a good opportunity. Arsenal haven’t won the League Cup since 1993 and crashed out to Brighton in the 3rd round last season, so Arteta will hope to put a decent run together this time around.

However, the Gunners have a tough task at hand as they head to the Gtech Community Stadium to face Brentford. Thomas Frank’s side booked their place in the 3rd round after edging past Newport County on penalties. Brentford also come into the game off the back of a shock 3-1 home defeat to Everton on Saturday, so they will be desperate to get back on track tonight.

The Bees have endured a tough start to the new campaign as they’ve won just one of their six Premier League games so far. That solitary victory came away to Fulham in mid-August and they’ve picked up just three points from their four home games. That poor form has left Brentford sitting 13th in the table, so Frank will hope victory against Arsenal in the EFL Cup tonight could get their season up and running.

How to watch

The game hasn’t been selected for live broadcast in the UK. Therefore, the only way to watch all the action as it happens is to be at the game in person. The official channels have sold out but you can still buy Arsenal tickets at Seatsnet if you want to be at the Gtech Stadium to watch this intriguing contest on Wednesday night.

Team news

Mikel Arteta is expected to rotate his squad and give some of his fringe players an opportunity. The big problem for the Spaniard is that injuries are pilling up and many first team squad players are set to miss out tonight. Arsenal transfer news sites suggest Arteta may need to strengthen in January if injuries continue to pile up.

Declan Rice is the latest big name casualty. The England international was forced off at half-time during Arsenal’s draw with Tottenham after complaining of back pain. His withdrawal proved costly as it was Rice’s replacement – Jorginho – who made the error leading to Tottenham’s equaliser. Arsenal have played down fears Rice could be out for the long-term but he’s certain to miss the trip to Brentford this evening. The midfielder will continue to be assessed ahead of the trip to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.

Bukayo Saka limped off against Spurs with an ankle knock and Arteta won’t risk his ‘starboy’ tonight. Gabriel Martinelli missed the North London Derby after picking up a hamstring injury during the win at Everton earlier this month. The Brazilian international won’t feature in the EFL Cup tonight and remains a doubt to face Bournemouth at the weekend.

Leandro Trossard was another absentee for Arsenal against Tottenham. He picked up a muscle issue in training and was a late withdrawal for the NLD. It’s not thought to be a serious injury but the Belgian international won’t be available to face Brentford.

Thomas Partey also remains on the sidelines as he continues to recover from a groin injury that’s kept him out for the last three games. Summer signing Jurrien Timber is also out as he’s facing a race against time to play again this season after undergoing surgery on an ACL injury that he sustained on the opening weekend of the season.

Brentford also have their own injury issues to contend with. Rico Henry could miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury while Kevin Schade is facing weeks out with a groin problem that he sustained during the warm-up at the weekend.

Shandon Baptiste, Ben Mee, Mikkel Damsgaard and Josh Dasilva are also out for the Bees while star striker Ivan Toney is still serving his eight-month suspension. Neal Maupay is also unavailable as he’s cup tied having played for parent club Everton in the second round.

Likely line-ups

Arteta could recall Aaron Ramsdale between the sticks after axing the England international in favour of David Raya for the last two games. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jacub Kiwior are expected to come in to the Arsenal defence with the likes of William Saliba and Oleksendr Zinchenko rested. Cedric Soares could also get a rare run out.

Emile Smith Rowe will get an opportunity to showcase his talents after a frustrating injury-plagued year. Reiss Nelson should also feature for Arsenal in attack with Saka, Martinelli and Trossard out. Jorginho could get a start in midfield and he’ll want to make up for his mistake in the NLD, while Kai Havertz may get a chance to impress after a difficult start to life at Arsenal following his summer move from Chelsea.

Possible Brentford XI: Strakosha; Roerslev, Zanka, Ajer, Hickey; Onyeka, Janelt, Ghoddos; Lewis-Potter, Mbeumo, Wissa

Possible Arsenal XI:  Ramsdale; Cedric, Gabriel, Kiwior, Tomiyasu; Jorginho, Havertz, Vieira; Nelson, Smith Rowe, Nketiah

Prediction

Both teams have injury issues to deal with and are expected to field weakened sides. However, Arsenal have more quality in depth compared to Brentford and that could be the deciding factor here.

We should see a very competitive game at the Gtech Stadium and Brentford will almost certainly give a good account of themselves, but we’re backing Arsenal to edge a close contest. Brentford 1-2 Arsenal

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