Arsenal “optimistic” Carabao Cup tie goes ahead
Arsenal were the centre of controversy as many felt that they cheated their way into a postponement as a result of injuries and players at AFCON.
Their opponents, Tottenham, certainly felt so.
“The original intention of the guidance…was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that, when taken together with injuries, would result in the club being unable to field a team.
We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID.
We may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule.”, the club wrote in an official statement after the news broke.
And after the announcement, it was thought that the Carabao Cup second leg against Liverpool could also be a casualty. However, as per Mark Mann-Bryans, the club is “optimistic” that thew game will go ahead as planned.
Told that Arsenal are now optimistic their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool will go ahead as planned on Thursday night.
No new Covid cases and players returning from short-term injury, as well as differing EFL rules, means game is likely to be played.
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) January 18, 2022
This is in part because of the different EFL rules, that would see the likes of Charlie Patino qualify as a senior player, and some recovery from other players. However, the absentee list is still significant.
The walking wounded and the absent
As per Kaya Kaynak of Football.London, Cedric is unlikely to make the clash, after limping off in the first leg.
Understand Cedric is highly unlikely to be available for Thursday’s clash with Liverpool adding to the lengthy list of potential absentees for #AFC.
🇵🇹 right back has not been training and is still unable to run due to pain from the hip injury.https://t.co/WcFlrQT2re
— Kaya Kaynak (@kayakaynak97) January 18, 2022
He was replaced by Calum Chambers, who himself is in a race to get back to fitness. Meanwhile, both Pablo Mari and Sead Kolasinac are expected to depart the club before the fixture, to Udinese and Marseilles respectively.
Couple of other Arsenal bits today, Azeez and John-Jules recalled from loan but expected to leave for other clubs before the end of Jan.
Kolasinac departure also close to fruition now and could be concluded in coming days.
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) January 17, 2022
Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka picked up knocks in the first leg too, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early return from international duty is due to fitness concerns, so he is not expected to feature. Neither, of course, will the four players still at AFCON.
Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu missed the first leg through minor injuries, and Arsenal will be hoping for their return. The same can be said for Martin Odegaard, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday.
Granit Xhaka, of course, remains suspended, leaving Arsenal still looking light in midfield with just Sambi Lokonga and Patino as recognised options. Additionally, another positive COVID case was announced on Saturday, although it is unclear who.
All told, Arsenal have 7 or 8 players certain to be out of the clash, and much will hinge on the fitness of the four labelled doubts at present.
Will they be able to grab a result to take them to Wembley again?
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