Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon, a chance for youth to shine
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: A general view inside the stadium prior to the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and AFC Wimbledon at Emirates Stadium on September 22, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Wednesday night’s game in the Carabao Cup offers Mikel Arteta a chance to rotate and freshen up his squad ahead of Sunday’s north London Derby when Tottenham Hotspur make the short trip from N17 to N5. 

Chance for some new faces. 

The main name that fans want to see play in Wednesday night’s game is Hale End graduate Charlie Patino. The 17 Year old joined the club at the age of 11 as Arsene Wenger signed him from Luton Town. Patino has made the headlines among Arsenal fans due to his performances at the back end of last season and this campaign so far for the under 23’s side. 

Chief Football London reporter Chris Wheatley spoke about the youngster on his YouTube channel recently where he said he believed that the starlet would be a regular starter for the Gunners in years to come. Wheatley however has since reported that the Arsenal U23 star is not in the squad for Wednesday night’s cup clash.

Rotation is key. 

Mikel Arteta now has a chance to rest and rotate some of his players before the north London Derby on Sunday, If the Gunners reign victorious then it would put them level on points with their north London rivals and could push them as high as seventh. 

The Arsenal manager did however play a strong side in the previous round when his side overturned Championship side West Brom 6-0. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nico Pepe and Bukayo Saka all started that tie. With the Gunners facing significantly weaker opposition however, chances could present themselves to some out of favour players such as Gabriel Martinelli and Alex Lacazette who could both play the full 90 on Wednesday night. 

Momentum a key factor? 

With momentum being of the upmost importance going into the weekend’s game, Arteta will reportedly pick a strong team for this clash with Wimbledon, despite this increasing the chances of an eye-catching win and score line, any injuries at this stage to key players could turn out to be a disaster and seriously damage any chances of Arteta’s team climbing up the Premier League table into the lucrative European places. 

A new look side is still however expected to be fielded in this third round tie as Bernd Leno will most likely come back into goal after his break which has seen new signing Aaron Ramsdale take centre stage in between the sticks. This game could be telling as to who will start in goal for Sunday’s north London Derby.