Arsenal grapple with Brentford as key players suffer injuries

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FOOTBALL Arsenal grapple with Brentford as key players suffer injuries

Festus Chuma 14:00 - 27.09.2023

Arsenal and Brentford face off in Carabao Cup, both battling significant player injuries, adding tension to this crucial match-up.

London will host a midweek spectacle as Brentford welcome Arsenal to the Gtech Community Stadium for an electrifying third-round encounter in the EFL Carabao Cup this Wednesday evening. 

This all-Premier League clash promises to be a pulse-raiser, with both teams looking to advance further in the tournament.

The Bees, under the tactful eye of manager Thomas Frank, had a nerve-wracking journey to this stage, narrowly securing a penalty shootout victory against Newport County in the second round.

Brentford has embodied resilience and tenacity since their ascent to the top-flight in 2020, often proving to be a formidable challenge for the league’s traditional powerhouses, the ‘Big Six’.

However, the home side is not without challenges, facing significant squad absences due to injuries and suspensions. The dynamic Rico Henry is sidelined for the season, with Kevin Schade also nursing an injury. The Bees will also miss the services of Ivan Toney, Shandon Baptiste, Ben Mee, Mikkel Damsgaard, and Josh Dasilva, leaving Frank to rethink and recalibrate his matchday strategy.

On the other side, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have had a roller-coaster ride of emotions in recent days. Following a thrilling return to Champions League action last week, the North London side experienced a bittersweet 2-2 draw against arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, a match that left its mark on the squad.

Injury concerns plague the Gunners as they head into this fixture. Key players including Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka were substituted during the North London Derby due to injury concerns, while attackers Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli are hampered by hamstring issues. To deepen the wound, Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey continue their stints on the injury list, unavailable for selection.

This run of injuries presents a challenge for Arteta but also an opportunity for fringe and young players to step up and make a mark. Given the air of disappointment lingering after the Spurs game, a victorious outing at the Gtech Community Stadium could provide the morale boost the squad desperately needs ahead of their weekend fixture against Bournemouth.

Despite their storied history, the Carabao Cup hasn't been a silverware staple for Arsenal. The Gunners have only lifted the trophy twice since the competition's inception and have reached the final only once in the last twelve iterations. Memories of last season’s third-round 3-1 defeat at the hands of Brighton at the Emirates are still fresh and will undoubtedly be on the players’ minds as they take to the field.

However, Arsenal should tread carefully, as Brentford has not only survived but thrived against top-tier opposition since their promotion. With both teams fielding squads impacted by injuries, the match will be an intriguing test of depth and strategy for both Frank and Arteta.

Brentford vs Arsenal predicted lineups:

Brentford: Strakosha; Roerslev, Jorgensen, Ajer, Hickey; Onyeka, Janelt, Ghoddos; Lewis-Potter, Maupay, Wissa. 

Arsenal: Ramsdale; Cedric, Walters, Kiwior, Tomiyasu; Jorginho, Vieira, Havertz; Nelson, Jesus, Smith Rowe.