Arsène Wenger has admitted that having a number of players out on loan will affect his selection at Tottenham on Wednesday night.
The Arsenal manager often uses the League Cup to bed in talented youth players but, with Arsenal’s biggest young talents out on loan, the manager is set to rotate and use more experienced squad players.
That means the likes of captain Mikel Arteta, defenders Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs, and Olivier Giroud are set to start with Mathieu Flamini also likely to feature.
Having midweek games coming regularly, Wenger will have to rotate at least half of his side.
“It will affect it because at the moment the youth-team players, many of whom are ready to play for us, are away on loan,” the manager told Arsenal.com.
“The next players who have the talent are not completely ready to play at that level. With the difficulty of the opponent as well, you do not want to throw them into a game where they look out of place.”
That means the likes of Stephy Mavididi and Yassin Fortune will be overlooked with Alex Iwobi and Glen Kamara the only youth players with a chance of making the squad. With Per Mertesacker returning and Gabriel available, even Kamara’s inclusion is highly doubtful.
As a result of having more senior players than usual and youth players who aren’t ready, Wenger will opt to rotate with experience.
“There are no fringe players [here], there is only a first-team squad. It is an opportunity for Arsenal to win an important game and for the players who play for the club to defend our club and qualify.
“Apart from that, we played with the team in Zagreb and we didn’t win, so we want to come back now and win our cup games because that’s vital for us.”
The game is huge after a week which saw Arsenal lose twice, and Wenger knows it. The manager will make changes but his team selection will be a lot more serious than we have seen in this competition in the past as he looks to get one over the old enemy.