Arsenal will look to maintain their stellar home form when they host Sunderland in the quarterfinals of the EFL Cup on Tuesday.
The Gunners have lost just once in all competitions at the Emirates and enter this clash on the back of six consecutive home wins.
Meanwhile, Sunderland, the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition, are unbeaten in their last seven League One games. But a clash against the Gunners will be a massive step up for the Black Cats.
The last time these two sides met was in the Premier League in 2017, when Arsenal ran away 2-0 winners thanks to a brace from Alexis Sanchez.
Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta is expected to make wholesale changes to the team that defeated Leeds United at the weekend.
Albert Sambi Lokonga and Pablo Mari are unavailable for this clash after testing positive for COVID-19. Sead Kolasinac remains a long-term absentee while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to miss out once again after being axed for a disciplinary breach.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup vs Sunderland (4-4-2)
Bernd Leno will likely replace the dynamic Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal lineup. Leno has slipped to second-choice ‘keeper following Ramsdale’s arrival but he is still a world-class shot-stopper and will be keen to prove a point on his return to the team.
Arteta could field an entirely different backline to the one that’s started the last four league games. Kieran Tierney will make way for the effervescent Nuno Tavares at left-back, while Cedric Soares could slot in at right-back in place of Takehiro Tomiyasu in the Arsenal lineup.
Gabriel and Ben White have formed a solid partnership at the heart of the Arsenal defence but they are both likely to be rested. They could make way for Rob Holding and Calum Chambers.
Granit Xhaka has only just returned from a long-term injury and Arteta will not want to risk him for this clash, given Arsenal’s lack of options in midfield. The Swiss could make way for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, while Mohamed Elneny could step in for Thomas Partey in the Arsenal lineup.
Emile Smith Rowe has scored in his last two games despite only playing a combined 38 minutes, and the Englishman will likely start in place of Martin Odegaard.
Nicolas Pepe has barely featured under Arteta this season, but the Ivorian could be handed a rare start against Sunderland. Pepe will replace Bukayo Saka, who has started Arsenal’s last four games.
Gabriel Martinelli has been in sensational goal-scoring form for Arsenal in recent games, but the Brazilian is prone to picking up niggling injuries and will not be risked for this clash. Martinelli could make way for Eddie Nketiah.
Alexandre Lacazette is also likely to drop to the bench, with Folarin Balogun partnering Nketiah up front for Arsenal.