The Carabao Cup is a tough balancing act for managers of the bigger teams, because they really have to try hard to convince everyone that they actually care about the competition.
That changes if they reach the semi final and there’s a chance of silverware, but you often get the impression that playing the fringe players and suffering an unfortunate defeat in the early rounds is what they really aim for.
Arsenal’s starting XI tonight does mainly feature the fringe players, although a lot of the fans would’ve been hoping for William Saliba to get his first start of the club:
? Tonight's team news is in…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 23, 2020
The Frenchman was highly impressive during his loan spell at St Etienne last season, so there’s plenty of hope that he will form a long term partnership with Gabriel at the heart of the defence.
He’s yet to play in a completive game for Arsenal and he might still make his debut from the bench, but plenty of fans were hoping to see him from the start this evening:
Özil doesn’t even make the #CarabaoCup squad ??
Disappointed #Saliba isn’t starting though, would have been good to see him against a decent team.
— James (@JamesL1686) September 23, 2020
I was looking at Saliba to start
— Kamacho (@djungelskong) September 23, 2020
Surprised that Saliba doesn’t start tonight!
— Clint Neale (@CJSN1982) September 23, 2020
Ozil and Guendouzi are finished . Can’t even make the squad for a cup game . Why wouldn’t you put Saliba in too ? ???? Nothing game
— Arran (@ArranAFCSTL) September 23, 2020
Our XI is stronger than I expected. I was hoping to see Saliba start but after Arteta’s comments re him needing time after last season’s injuries, it’s hardly a surprise.
— Sam T (@PensiveGunner) September 23, 2020
So surprised that he hasn’t given Saliba a start here. All the other decisions, I can understand
— M-Gunna © (@Gunner_MB28) September 23, 2020
Saliba doesn't start tonight ?
— Hannah AFC???? (@HJ0hnson_) September 23, 2020
It’s interesting to see some of the comments about Ozil not even getting into the squad, so presumably that’s just further confirmation that Arteta doesn’t want him.