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Expected Arsenal line-up vs Sunderland – Carabao Cup

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Arsenal are scheduled to host Sunderland in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have picked up momentum with three successive wins in the Premier League, and should be favourites to beat the Black Cats in midweek.

There is still uncertainty over the team selection after a minor Covid-19 outbreak in the squad. Albert Sambi Lokonga and Pablo Mari recently tested positive. Hopefully, there is no disruption on Tuesday. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is likely to make wholesale changes with the regular starters being handed a break.

Here is how Arsenal could line up against Sunderland:

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno has fallen down the pecking order since Aaron Ramsdale took over the gloves for the league games in September. His only appearances have come in the Carabao Cup, and he is expected to start after overcoming a groin injury.

Defence: There could be a complete reshuffle at the back. Takehiro Tomiyasu is nursing a minor muscular injury and should be rested with Cedric Soares replacing him at right-back tomorrow.

Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes have been ever-present figures for Arsenal in central defence since September, and could be handed a breather. Rob Holding and Calum Chambers look certain to take their places with Mari sidelined. At left-back, it should be a straight swap with Nuno Tavares coming in for Kieran Tierney.

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Midfield: Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey have started the last four league games together, but they could be rested in midweek. Lokonga won’t be available for selection. Arteta could have a straightforward decision with Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles taking up the central midfield positions for Arsenal.

Attack: It won’t be a surprise if they are multiple changes in attack, too. Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka could drop to the bench on the back of a heavy workload in recent weeks. Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe could replace them. Pepe has played just seven minutes since November. The 26-year-old has plenty of prove, though the Gunners are expected to win against Sunderland.

In the number 10 position, Emile Smith Rowe should get the nod over Martin Odegaard after scoring in his last two appearances off the bench. The England man needs more minutes under his belt after his recent return from a groin problem.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been axed for the past three games after a disciplinary breach, and may not return to the squad. Arteta may go with Alexandre Lacazette again up front over Folarin Balogun, who is still very inexperienced at first-team level.

Arsenal line-up (4-2-3-1) vs Sunderland

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