Arsène Wenger is determined to keep Arsenal on course for a unique quadruple and is intent on fielding the strongest line-up he can for tomorrow’s EFL Cup quarter-final against Southampton at the Emirates.
Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil were all heavily involved in training today when Wenger put his squad through their paces ahead of The Saints visit to North London.
The Arsenal manager had all the players involved in the sessions, working hard on attacking and defending set-pieces. Alexis and Özil were both in the thick of the action as the team prepared for the cup tie.
With Olivier Giroud set to miss tomorrow due to a hamstring strain, it’s left Lucas Perez as the only fit striker with first team experience. Having missed four weeks following the injury he suffered against Reading, it’s no wonder Wenger is set to call on Alexis at some point during the game.
The Spaniard has a high chance of pulling a hamstring himself or suffering a muscular strain through lack of preparation.
It’s a huge risk for Wenger to contemplate taking with Olivier Giroud reportedly suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday during the 3 – 1 win over Bournemouth.
If Alexis or Mesut Özil were to suffer an injury in the clash, it could scupper Arsenal’s hopes for the entire season. With a busy four weeks ahead including the pre-Christmas trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City, it’s a risky strategy to follow.
It really does signal Arsène’s intention to go for glory or bust in the final year of his contract. Wenger has never won the EFL Cup in any of its formats nor have the Gunners won the Champions League; the club has made a better attempt at both this time around than many of the recent seasons.