Arsenal play host to Sunderland in the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening. Will the Premier League side have too much, or can the Black Cats pull off a classic, English cup giant killing?
After a run of three Premier League wins in succession, Arsenal attempt to take one step closer to the final of the EFL Cup on Tuesday, as they play host Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
This quarter-final match-up also sees Lee Johnson’s visitors arrive in fine form, having gone seven games unbeaten in League One, though their recent cup record has been less than impressive.
In Gunners‘ squad news, captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s absence due to disciplinary reasons continues, so Alexandre Lacazette is poised to remain as both skipper and striker for Mikel Arteta’s side. Meanwhile, Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pépé are likely to provide support from the flanks.
Rob Holding, Nuno Tavares and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are among several others vying for a spot in the XI, but Pablo Mari, Albert Sambi Lokonga (both COVID-19), and Sead Kolašinac (ankle) remain unavailable.
As for Sunderland, they head to London – where they are expected to be cheered on by up to 5,000 fans – with a number of absences to cope with. Leon Dajaku was added to a growing injury list after Saturday’s draw with Ipswich, in which the German winger needed to be withdrawn just before half time.
Full-back, Denver Hume, deputised for Dajaku at Portman Road, having recently returned from an ankle injury. The 23-year-old could now start for the visitors, who have the defensive-minded duo of Dennis Cirkin and Corry Evans out of contention with hernia and calf issues respectively.
Aiden McGeady and Luke O’Nien are among the Black Cats’ long-term injury victims, but Lynden Gooch was deemed fit to play last weekend after a groin issue and should once again start on the left.
Arteta will ring the changes for this game, but we believe that Arsenal will still be too good for League One, Sunderland. Our prediction is 2-0 to the home side, with a goal netted in each half.
Arsenal possible starting XI:
Leno; Soares, Holding, Chambers, Tavares; Maitland-Niles, Elneny; Pépé, Smith Rowe, Nketiah; Lacazette
Sunderland possible starting XI:
Hoffmann; Wright, Flanagan, Doyle; Hume, Neil, Pritchard, Embleton, Gooch; Broadhead, Stewart