We usually see that relegation threatened teams will play a weakened side in the cup competitions to boost their chances of picking up points in the league, but are Arsenal really in that category yet?
They face Man City in the Carabao Cup tonight so this should be a welcome escape from the misery of the Premier League, while Mikel Arteta has shown his main strength lies in one off cup ties so a victory could buy him some time with the fans and boost the confidence of the team.
City have rotated a few of their players but it’s still a very strong side that they’ve put out, so it’s interesting to see that Arteta has gone for a largely full-strength selection:
? Our quarter-final XI tonight!
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 22, 2020
Leno, Tierney and even Pepe would probably be starting if he was going for his strongest possible selection, so it shows there is some space for experimentation.
The situation with William Saliba has dragged on all season after he failed to secure a loan move and appears to be frozen out of the first team, so this would’ve been a great chance to see if he was capable of playing at this level.
It’s either the case that Arteta genuinely doesn’t rate him or he could even be scared that a great performance from the Frenchman would highlight a serious error on his part and he doesn’t want to deal with that just now.
From an Arsenal point of view you have to hope that it’s the first option, but a lot of the fans are still unhappy that he’s not included tonight:
Really no Saliba? 6 months of his development gone because of poor planning
— William (fan account) (@OzilThings) December 22, 2020
If Mustafi and Kolasinac are in the squad and Saliba isn’t, this is not a “long term project”, it is a “must win now” project and should be judged absolutely on immediate results.
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) December 22, 2020
— Clarke Hadley (@zanteclarke86) December 22, 2020
No Saliba. I promise Arteta is dusted https://t.co/uF6SZNaQMW
— ? (@Bryan_hmm) December 22, 2020
Clown club, clown Admin, clown manager, clown board. Free Saliba from this clown show ???? https://t.co/nSfrUtggne
— Alexjk ?? (@moneyswoosh) December 22, 2020
Could Arteta be questioned as to why Mustafi who is set to leave is getting minutes over Saliba?
— Sam? (@afcsammm) December 22, 2020
If we don’t win today then Arteta needs to leave, the decision not to play Saliba is disgraceful. Wenger would play the youth players and still get the win. #CarabaoCup #ARSMCI https://t.co/pX32kKVtwM
— BabaSIMS (@OGBabaSIMS) December 22, 2020