EFL Cup 2016/17: Arsene Wenger names 8 players who will start tonight's game against Reading
Arsene Wenger speaks ahead of tonight's game against Reading.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will make wholesale changes to his team for the EFL Cup game against Reading. The Arsenal manager was certain of 8 players starting against Reading which also included Olivier Giroud, who will return after a 6-week injury layoff.
Wenger fielding a weakened side against Nottingham Forest in the previous round of the EFL Cup and plans on doing the same tonight to give some of the youth players a chance to impress in front of a packed Emirates crowd.
Wenger confirmed that Gabriel Paulista and Rob Holding will start the game tonight while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also in line to get a rare start in recent weeks. Another defender who looks set to start against Reading is right-back Carl Jenkinson, who has been out of action since the start of this season.
Lucas Perez will look to continue his impressive start to his Arsenal career as the pacey winger is likely to start from the left wing. Alex Iwobi has played regular football in recent weeks and will be asked to operate in the number 10 role behind Olivier Giroud.
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Reading
Kieran Gibbs will captain the side from the left-back position while youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide will be given a rare chance in attack alongside Iwobi, Perez and Giroud. Mohamed Elneny and Oxlade-Chamberlain could be the midfield pairing in this game with Francis Coquelin most likely to feature from the bench.
One man who will miss the game is Aaron Ramsey who is still 10 days away from being able to play competitive football for Arsenal. Petr Cech will also get a breather tonight with Emi Martinez expected to start in goal.
Here is what Arsenal manager said to Arsenal.com in his pre-match press conference before the EFL cup clash vs Reading.
On Giroud and Ramsey, “I think Olivier will be included, but for Aaron it is too early although he is back in full training now.”
On his squad against Reading, “It will be a similar squad to against Nottingham Forest. We will have Gabriel, Holding, Jenkinson will be back and will play. Jeff Reine-Adelaide will play, otherwise, I think Iwobi, Lucas, Oxlade-Chamberlain will also play. Gibbs – who captained the team at Forest – will do it again on Tuesday.”
The Gunners have started the 2016/17 season on a high across all the competitions where they are joint top of the Premier League table and are leading their Champions League group as well. A strong showing in domestic cup competitions (FA Cup and EFL Cup) is something Wenger must be hoping for so that he can give his youngsters enough time to develop into first team regulars.