Arsenal host League One side Blackpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, just days after seeing their 11-game winning streak come to an end at Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
Unai Emery is expected to make several changes as he looks to juggle an assault on four different competitions over the course of the season.
Blackpool, meanwhile, have already eliminated a side in a higher division in this competition after seeing off Queens Park Rangers in the third round, and will no doubt relish the experience of taking on one of the Premier League’s biggest sides once again.
Check out 90min’s preview for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup game below.
How to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Wednesday 31 October|
|What Time is Kick Off?||19:45 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Emirates Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Gillette Soccer Special|
Arsenal are set to be without right back Hector Bellerin after the Spaniard was withdrawn at half-time against Palace with ‘muscular pains’ and is unlikely to be risked, particularly with Liverpool on the horizon.
Both senior left backs Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac have been sidelined with thigh injuries and continue to be assessed, while Laurent Koscielny is unlikely to feature despite returning to full training after his Achilles injury.
Several fringe players and members of Arsenal’s Under-23 squad will be called upon, which should mean rare starts for the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Danny Welbeck and Emile Smith-Rowe.
England Under-21 international Eddie Nketiah may also feature, with his late brace against Norwich City in this competition last season marking his entrance into first-team football.
Former Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing is expected to start for the visitors, but both Jimmy Ryan and Max Clayton will miss the trip to the Emirates through injury.
|Arsenal||Cech; Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Holding, Maitland-Niles; Guendouzi, Elneny; Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Smith-Rowe; Welbeck.|
|Blackpool||Howard; Turton, Tilt, Daniels, Bola; Spearing, Guy, Thompson, Feeney; Delfouneso, Gnanduillet.|
Head to Head Record
Arsenal and Blackpool have met 82 times over the years, with the Gunners emerging victorious in 43 fixtures. The Tangerines have managed 15 wins but the League One side’s last victory came back in 1970.
This will be the first meeting between the two sides since the 2010/2011 season when Blackpool were in the Premier League. On their last trip to the Emirates in August 2010, the Seasiders were the subject of a 6-0 thrashing with now Everton winger Theo Walcott netting a hat trick.
A 2-2 draw away at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace saw Arsenal’s impressive 11-game winning streak in all competitions come to an end and means the Gunners now find themselves four points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool.
In the Europa League however, they have been in imperious touch, with their victory at Sporting CP last week seeing them record their third successive group stage win.
Terry McPhillips’ Blackpool side were on a 11-game unbeaten run before falling to a 3-2 defeat against Fleetwood Town at the weekend.
The streak has seen the club rise to 12th in League One, just five points outside the play-off positions with two games in hand. With a push for promotion still possible, they will now turn their attentions to a mouth-watering tie against one of the Premier League’s elite.
Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures.
|Crystal Palace 2-2 Arsenal (28/10)||Fleetwood Town 3-2 Blackpool (27/10)|
|Sporting CP 0-1 Arsenal (25/10)||Blackpool 1-0 Scunthorpe United (23/10)|
|Arsenal 3-1 Leicester (22/10)||Blackpool 2-0 AFC Wimbledon (20/10)|
|Fulham 1-5 Arsenal (7/10)||Blackpool 1-2 West Brom U21 (9/10)|
|FK Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal (4/10)||Blackpool 2-2 Rochdale (6/10)|
Unai Emery will look to galvanise his troops after the disappointment of seeing their long winning streak come to an end on Sunday, and the Carabao Cup presents a real chance of a trophy for the Spaniard in his first year in charge at the club.
While Blackpool have generally been in good form over the past couple of months, the gulf in class between the two sides should be too much for them to overcome.
The Tangerines may be encouraged by the rotation Emery will likely employ in picking his XI for the game, but the Gunners should have enough strength in reserve to comfortably win and progress to the fifth round of the Carabao Cup.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Blackpool