Many Arsenal fans bemused as Mikel Arteta picks £80m duo vs League One Sunderland in bid to end 28-year trophy wait in EFL Cup

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Mikel Arteta made nine changes to Arsenal’s starting XI for Tuesday’s quarter-final against Sunderland in the EFL Cup – a trophy the Gunners have not won in over 28 years.

But despite the rotation following their weekend thrashing of Leeds, Arteta still deployed plenty of big guns for the clash with the League One promotion chasers.

Summer signings Ben White and Martin Odegaard, who cost the Gunners a combined £80m according to the Daily Mail, both kept their place in Arteta’s side.

White has quickly established himself as a key man for Arsenal, playing every minute of their last 15 Premier League games.

As a result, many Arsenal fans were left bemused by Arteta’s call to play White against Sunderland, rather than giving him a rest.

Replying to Arsenal’s team news tweet on the club’s official account, one fan replied: “Absolutely no reason to start White and Odegaard.”

Another fumed: “Why play White when you know he is your first choice CB pairing? Why start your regular first team players against Sunderland for heaven’s sake?”

Capslock came into play as another screamed: “WHY ARE WE RISKING WHITE ESR [Emile Smith-Rowe] AND ODEGAARDDDDDD”.

One grumpy Gooner agreed and wrote: “Why Odegaard White and ESR? Give them a rest FFS”.

But some fans approved of Arteta’s decision to go strong in a game that could see Arsenal reach the semi-finals of the EFL Cup.

“We’re here to win. But you already knew that”, typed one positive fan.

The last time Arsenal won the League Cup was in 1993, which was their second triumph in the competition.

Two all-time League Cup titles for Arsenal compares poorly against their major rivals, with Liverpool and Man City having been victorious eight times each, while Chelsea and Man United have five titles apiece. Meanwhile, North London rivals Spurs are four-time winners.

Arsenal used the League Cup to blood youngsters for the majority of Arsene Wenger’s time at the club. Wenger never won the trophy, but reached three finals – in 2007, 2011 and 2018.

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