Young Gunners Set To Fire

Picture: Getty Images/
Thomas Eisfeld is likely to start up front for Arsenal. Picture: Getty Images/
English Premier League leaders Arsenal  host second placed Chelsea  in Round 4 of the League Cup on Wednesday morning (AEST), although boss Arsene Wenger is unlikely to field his first choice XI at the Emirates Stadium. The Frenchman has traditionally used the competition to blood Arsenal’s youngsters and is likely to maintain the core of the team that scraped past West Bromwich Albion last month.

The Gunners were held to a 1-1 draw against West Brom in the Third Round but won through with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory after Nacho Monreal converted the winning spot kick. Olivier Giroud, Keiren Gibbs, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil were amongst the players rested against the Baggies and are likely to sit this match out as well, with Thomas Eisfeld likely to lead the line after scoring on his full debut at the Hawthorns. Isaac Hayden, Ryo Miyaichi and Serge Gnabry all started in the clubs League Cup fixture and are likely to figure again but Mathieu is unlikely to be risked after picking up a groin injury just eight minutes into his comeback against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Like its opponents, Chelsea made full use of its squad in this competition last month with a number of fringe players getting game time in the clubs 2-0 victory over Swindon Town. Veteran Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer got his first competitive start for Chelsea in that fixture and is likely to deputise for Petr Cech between the sticks again, while fringe players Willian, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel could all feature.

Arsenal hasn’t beaten Chelsea in any competition since the 2011/12 season but there was little to separate the sides in two League fixtures during the last campaign, with the Blues scoring a narrow 2-1 victory on both occasions. The Gunners most recent victory over their London rivals was a 5-3 success at Stamford Bridge on this day (October 29) two years ago.

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