With six wins out of a possible seven in all competitions, the Gunners travel to Hillsborough with the opportunity to progress into the Last eight of the Capital One Cup – a tournament they should certainly target success in this term.
After a hard-fought victory against Everton on Saturday evening, Arsène Wenger is set to make alterations to his starting eleven, especially with Swansea, Bayern Munich and Tottenham to play in the space of nine days afterwards.
There was no press conference but the boss confirmed the news everyone was waiting patiently to hear on the official Arsenal website. No new injuries following Saturday’s game, meaning the quintet of Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere are the first-team players unavailable to feature.
With David Ospina also absent, Petr Čech will continue in goal, whilst 21-year-old Matt Macey is poised to make the substitutes’ bench again after impressing with the u21’s of late.
The general consensus is that with plenty of games coming thick and fast, Arsène will rotate his side accordingly. A refreshing mix of youth and experience is expected, not least because many players in the u21 and u18 squads were pictured in Monday’s training session – including Alex Iwobi, Krystian Bielik, Reiss Nelson and Ben Sheaf all featured.
Possible XI: Čech; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Gibbs; Bielik, Flamini; Iwobi, Sheaf, Campbell; Walcott.
Sheffield Wednesday will be eagerly anticipating kick-off on Tuesday evening, not least as they entertain a top Premier League side at home in a game where league standings are irrelevant, as well as form.
With a few familiar faces in their ranks, including Michael Turner, Sam Hutchinson, Barry Bannan and Moudou Sougou, the hosts will certainly be taking the fixture seriously.
Sitting narrowly outside the play-off places in the Championship at the moment following a 2-1 victory of their own over Rotherham United on the weekend, manager Carlos Carvalhal will be hoping for a fast, effective start from his side.
Coupled with the partisan crowd, atmosphere as well as the memorable occasion itself, Arsenal could have a game on their hands.
Carvalhal said the following, in his media briefing: “We cannot take risks with anyone. The Championship is where we play every week and, of course, that is the priority but we want to go as far as we possibly can in the cups.
“We have a fantastic spirit at the club and I will have 100% confidence in whoever plays in this game.”
Possible XI: Wildsmith; Loovens, Lees, Hunt, Pudil; Hutchinson, Lee, Wallace, Bannan; Nuhiu and Forestieri.
Plenty of the top Premier League sides have been criticised for not taking the cup competitions as seriously as they should, but the tournament is also a way to help younger, less experienced players establish themselves in the first-team plans for the future.
Cesc Fábregas made his Arsenal debut in the League Cup against Rotherham twelve years ago. He went on to make over 300 club appearances for the Gunners, and has already played in three World Cups.
Serge Gnabry, Isaac Hayden and Hector Bellerín have all made their senior debuts in the competition over the past few seasons, and taken their chance too.
With that in mind, you could excuse the likes of Alex Iwobi, Ben Sheaf and Krystian Bielik for being eager for the experience of first-team football, even in a Cup clash.
Iwobi has been the talk of the town recently, not least with his exciting displays in an attacking sense for the u19’s in the UEFA Youth League as well as the u21’s in the Premier League too.
As for Sheaf, he represents another upcoming English talent fitting the mould of a Jack Wilshere-type player, with some differences to his game too. Technically gifted, the 17-year-old often leads by example and loves to shoot from range.
Bielik meanwhile, has been gradually eased into the Arsenal set-up following his £2.7m switch from Legia Warsaw last January. Having already made his senior debut aged 16 in Poland, he also featured in the Europa League too, and boasts versatility, as he can play as a centre-back as well as a defensive-midfield role.
The trio will be hoping to impress with plenty of supporters eager to watch what they can offer.