Arsenal will take the EFL Cup tie as an opportunity to rest key stars against Brentford as Mikel Arteta manoeuvres through injuries.

The dust from the disappointing outcome of the Morth London Derby is only settling as Arsenal now kick-start their EFL Cup journey away from home to Brentford. Mikel Arteta will take this game as an opportunity to rest some of his key stars ahead of some crucial games ahead.

Arteta’s pre-match press conference had key ears waiting to understand the extent of some injuries to key players sustained on Sunday. Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka were taken off at different stages of that game and are likely to remain absent from Wednesday’s outing.

On Rice’s problem, Arteta said, “Declan hasn’t trained yet. He could not carry on in the game; he wasn’t comfortable at all. Hopefully, it’s not something big. We are confident. He’s still uncomfortable, he had to leave the pitch and that’s never a good sign for a player like him, but hopefully he will progress in the next few days. It’s a tough one.”

Saka, on the other hand, had been reportedly carrying an Achilles niggle for some time now and was barely moving at the end of the North London Derby. Arteta insisted the winger has not trained since and remains a doubt for the Bournemouth clash at the weekend.

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Arteta continued, “He was limping quite badly after the match. “We had to get him off the field, which is never a good sign as well. He hasn’t been able to participate in the session. It’s a possibility, yes [that he could miss the Bournemouth game].”

The manager also confirmed the absences of Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli for this clash and cast doubts over their presence for the weekend. He continued, “Leandro won’t be available for tomorrow.”

“Let’s see day by day how he improves and whether he’s got a chance for the weekend or not. He did some activity, and that’s where he felt it. He wasn’t comfortable carrying on the session the day before the game, and he hasn’t trained yet, so he is not available for tomorrow.”

There was no update on Fabio Vieira, which indicates the midfielder’s availability for Wednesday. However, Arteta might heavily shuffle his pack for the cup tie, with many of his fringe players likely to feature. The manager also has some fundamental decisions to make, which will show Arsenal’s seriousness about this competition.

Aaron Ramsdale is widely expected to start in goal and will have a much-changed back four. If Arteta feels the need to go the distance in this competition, he would likely use one of William Saliba or Gabriel Magalhaes in his defence. Otherwise, he has alternative options from the academy in Reuell Walters and Lino Sousa.

The former has a better chance of making the grade, considering the regularity at which he has trained with the first team. His inclusion would seem interesting, as Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jakub Kiwior and Cedric Soares could also get starts.

Arteta might go with a double pivot or Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny for this one, with Kai Havertz taking up an advanced role. Reiss Nelson on the right and Emile Smith Rowe on the left might do the trick in the attacking third, while Eddie Nketiah is pencilled in to lead the line.

Probable Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, Walters, Kiwior, Tomiyasu; Jorginho, Elneny; Nelson, Havertz, Smith Rowe; Nketiah

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