Arsenal will look to continue their stunning start to the season with a victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the third-round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.
Having just defeated London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta will likely issue prevalent rotation in the penultimate game before the mid-season World Cup.
Arsenal last faced the Seagulls at home at the business end of the previous campaign, falling to a bruising 2-1 defeat and consequently watching Champions League qualification miserably slip away.
Since that point, Arteta has galvanised his side and orchestrated a phenomenal start to the term that has left the club perched atop the Premier League table and finishing first in the Europa League group phase.
And now the focus falls to the Carabao Cup, a competition the side’s Spaniard boss will consider a subsidiary part of the season, but one that can breed further success nonetheless.
Here is the team we expect Arteta to field as they search for a place in the fourth round of the cup.
20-cap USA international Matt Turner has looked impressive when called upon this season, and will likely earn another chance as the defender between the sticks, giving Aaron Ramsdale a rest before the weekend.
The respective full-back positions will be occupied by Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney, with the latter restricted to just three league starts this season despite summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko’s limited availability due to injury.
Gabriel Magalhaes did not earn a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad, and Arteta may be inclined to offer the player, who scored the winner against Chelsea, a starting role ahead of his break from action; Rob Holding will take the other position.
In midfield, Mohamed Elneny will take the stage and look to impress after returning from injury last week. The industrious engine, who Gunners legend Ian Wright hailed to Premier League productions (29/10/22, 13:10) as “brilliant”, will be itching to impress and play a part in Arsenal’s title charge after the World Cup break.
Albert Sambi Lokonga will need to impress should he be recalled alongside the thriving Granit Xhaka, who Kevin Campbell lauded as “incredible”, with the Swiss international maintaining stability in the centre of the park against an Albion side that will seek to squeeze mistakes and openings in north London.
With a SofaScore rating of 7.15/10 in the Europa League, Fabio Viera has been brilliant when utilised since his summer move, and should now have the chance for a big test against Premier League opposition, giving Bukayo Saka a timely break.
Reiss Nelson sank away from the fore like a rock in quicksand across recent times, but recently entered the fray with a resounding brace off the bench against Nottingham Forest, and will leave a lasting imprint should he prove his mettle once more.
With Arteta reportedly scouring the market for additions, Nelson will be desperate to convince his manager that the answer lies within the ranks, and he can handle the weight in a title-challenging outfit.
At the helm, Eddie Nketiah will look to provide a goal threat. Somewhat failing to impress despite boasting a respectable goal return, a good performance is imperative for the Englishman if he is to convince Arteta of his worth.
Predicted Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Turner; Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Elneny, Lokonga, Xhaka; Viera, Nketiah, Nelson