Mikel Arteta insists he’s going to pick a competitive Arsenal team to face Brighton on Wednesday, taking the competition seriously.

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Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League Group A football match between Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven at The Arsenal Stadium in London, on October 20, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

With Arsenal top of the Premier League and into the last-16 of the Europa League, there’s been some talk amongst supporters that perhaps the Gunners should focus all their efforts on those two competitions alone.

Arsenal kick off their League Cup campaign against Brighton on Wednesday night, and Mikel Arteta could opt to give games to some academy players and backups if he so wished. Five youth players joined senior training on Tuesday.

But speaking to the Arsenal website ahead of the game, Arteta suggested he’s going to take the competition seriously.

“It is a different competition but the purpose is the same, to play as good as we can, win the game, and go into the next round,” Arteta said. “You know there are no second chances and we’ll take it very seriously.

“We’re going to pick a very competitive team. I think everyone deserves chances, and we’ll make some changes with judgement in relation to the load of the players, but we’ll play to win.

“The ones that haven’t played want to have their chance, and feel that they are contributing to the team.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Europa League group A match between Arsenal FC and FK Bodo/Glimt at Emirates Stadium on October 06, 2022. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Reading between the lines a bit, it sounds like Arsenal aren’t going to play their full-strength Premier League side on Wednesday, but they also aren’t going to throw the fixture away.

The first-team players who generally don’t get starts in the Premier League are probably the best bets to come in, such as Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny, Albert Sambi Lokonga, and so on.

But with Arsenal drawing a Premier League opponent in Brighton, it looks like opportunities for debuts may be limited this time around.