As we prepare for our second hiding of the season by Liverpool in tonight’s Carabao Cup semi-final, it seems as though we have a bit of midfield crisis brewing.
Thomas Workevent and Mo Elneny are both away at the African Cup of Nations and with Xhaka and Emile-Smith Rowe both Coviddy, it seems as though we only have Sambi Lokonga left in the middle of the park. Ainsley Maitland-Niles ironically would have probably played tonight and against Forest last weekend, making the timing of his departure quite puzzling – Balogun also moved to Middlesbrough – report here.
It’s also thought that Martin Odegaard is also going to miss the clash, and Aubameyang is also in Cameroon for AFCON leaving us with bare bones for the game. Tomiyasu also looks like he’ll be missing as his calf issue still hasn’t been resolved but one piece of good news is that Gabriel is back from suspension following his rather unfortunate red card against City and the ref last weekend.
Arteta does have a plan, however, using Ben White as a midfielder for the game, when quizzed about it, Arteta said:
“It’s an option that we have. He has played there before. He has played as a central defender, he’s played as a right-back and he’s played in a back three. That’s one of the positive things with Ben, that he has the capacity to play in different roles…”
Lambs to the slaughter anyone?
The second leg will take place next week and the winners will face Chelsea at Wembley in the final after the Blues beat Conte’s cheating Spurs last night 1-0 to win the tie 3-0 on aggregate. Sadly, Tottenham rightly had 2 penalties overturned by VAR and a goal rightly disallowed.