Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Cedric & Sokratis available as Gunners prep for Anfield return

Arsenal have confirmed that Cedric Soares and Sokratis are both match fit ahead of Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool.

Having played at Anfield earlier this week and with one eye on Sunday’s Premier League game against Sheffield, Mikel Arteta is expected to rotate his squad but wholesale changes may be difficult given some options could be set to leave the club.

It would make sense for Alex Runarsson to make his debut in goal, you’d expect Cedric to cover for Hector Bellerin and Gabriel, left on the bench for Monday’s 3-1 defeat, could return to the backline.

It remains to be seen whether Sokratis, who has recovered from a calf problem, makes the trip. He was all set to join Napoli but that deal appears to have collapsed. If he doesn’t perhaps William Saliba might get a game with either Rob Holding or David Luiz.

The game comes too soon for Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers but the club have confirmed that all three are set to return to full training after the international break. Whether Mustafi, tipped to move to Lazio, is still at the club by that point remains to be seen.

In light of their respective links with Bayer Leverkusen, Atletico Madrid and Marseille, we don’t expect Sead Kolasinac, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to be involved. Mesut Ozil wasn’t included in the squad for the last round so there’s nothing to suggest he’ll make the trip this time.

Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, who were left out of Monday’s squad, will likely get minutes while Dani Ceballos, Pepe, Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka are all other options if the boss doesn’t want to press regular starters Aubameyang, Lacazette and Xhaka into action.

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Whoever plays, the team as a whole is going to have to perform far better than they did on Monday night. Liverpool were all over us like a rash for much of the game and never looked like losing once they equalised. We have three realistic trophy targets this season, the three cups, so losing on Thursday will be a far bigger blow to us than Liverpool who have bigger fish to fry as they used to say. We may just pull some “cup magic” out of the hat – it’s possible, but…

SB Still

Respectfully disagree on the following
– Liverpool didn’t look like loosing even before they equalised

– However, we were in it almost till the end, despite their dominance. We ourselves have been on the other side – dominated games but didn’t win. We were resilient, not overrun.

– Too early to prioritise the cups over the league, particularly when the window is open and there is quite a good recruitment plan. Not expecting to compete for the title but also not expecting to finish as low as 8th like last season.


Regarding Liverpool, we must be thinking about different games. They had over 70% possession if memory serves and once they went ahead the best we could hope for was a draw – until it wasn’t, of course. It’s great to think we can win the PL, but I’m talking about “realistic” here – that’s why I used the word. Like all good managers, Arteta is a realist and he and his backroom team will have drawn up a list of targets for this season – it’s against them that they’ll all be judged (just like in other jobs – yours… Read more »


The priority has to be the league unless you want us to finish worse than last season. You have to aspire higher then anywhere you see yourself you take it. So we must aspire to win the league if we eventually finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th we can take it.

Naked Cygan

Agree, the cups are our only realistic targets, and we should do whatever we can to win them. Would love to finish in the top 4 if we can, but winning trophies is much more memorable than finish 3rd or 4th, and getting spanked in the Champions League the following year by Bayern or Barca. hopefully Liverpool will change all 11 players and we might have an easier game.


Yes. I think some of our fellow Gooners are missing the use of the “r” word here. Of course we must do everything we can in the PL – nobody is suggesting otherwise as far as I read. But trying our best there and saying our realistic targets are cups (the only other things we can win, of course) are not mutually incompatible. I think you’re right about changes to the Liverpool team for the next meeting. A problem is that their squad is stronger than ours – depth and quality. The decision that Arteta will need to make is… Read more »


Finishing top 4 and qualifying for CL also qualifies as a reasonably ‘realistic’ target. Remember CL attracts better players…better players improve the team..


I personally think the league is as much priority for us as it is for Liverpool. We must certainly aim to finish in top 4 and frankly the League Cup is not a very high priority. Of course I would like us to win, but would not be too upset if we were knocked out.

Johnny 4 Hats

Biggles, I know I’ve said it before, but cheer up fella. There’s more reasons to be excited than concerned at present and after late Wenger and the whole Emery embargo, you’d be mad not to feel just a little chipper about our current situation. I’m half expecting you to start the next post with “Arsenal’s defence is fragile. But then again so is life. The crow reminds us of the grave just as David Luiz reminds us of suffering. All is lost. The Carabao Cup mocks us, contorts us and leads us to the underworld of nothing.” (In my head… Read more »


Top post J4H.

Come on Biggles, it’s not as bad as all that. Think of that lot up the road.

The last time they won the title, no one outside Liverpool or Hamburg had heard of an unsigned group called The Beatles, the Berlin Wall hadn’t been built – never mind knocked down, Arsene Wenger was an 11 year old kid and Jose Mourinho hadn’t even been born. ?


Haha!! Yes Qwaliteee! So true my man! ?????


Of course things are better now than under the last years of the Wenger era or Emery’s brief tenure – but so they should be those days were, on the whole, a humiliation for Arsenal. Remember all those really heavy defeats, hardly ever being able to beat another top team etc., being thrashed in the CL? Yes, we’re on the up compared to that but it’s a tad daft to acknowledge it and, at the same time, go on to say we’re going to mount a realistic challenge for the PL. It’s not pessimism, it’s realism – just like most… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I feel like I’m the one being realistic. You take umbrage with the performance and result on Monday against the best team in the world after Arteta has lifted two trophies in the last six games. And with a squad which leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a certain entitlement to criticism such as this. We just finished 8th in the league and were playing the champs at their place. I’m as sorry as anyone that we aren’t winning back to back trebles but to throw your toys out the pram after one minor set back is both fickle… Read more »

Perry Crows

Ignore him J4H. He’s always throwing his opinion round on here like the king of the armchair pundits. It’s never very interesting or smart. But like the guy who props up the corner of the bar in the pub, he knows all and needs to tell everyone about it. Just leave him to his pint.


Isnt it kind of the point of a comment section to give your opinion? No everyone has to agree on everything.


How can one reconcile oneself with prioritising the much derided Mickey Mouse Cup over the League? If this was a Europa or FA Cup match, that’s a different kettle of fish.

We can’t simultaneously long for the 4th place trophy days, and not prioritize the league.

And sorry to say this, but you seem like a person who has given up on the team. I can understand giving up on Kroenke, but the miasma of pessimism regarding the team puts you in the hallowed league of AFTV.


No, as a supporter since 1969 (League Cup final first game, unfortunately) and a season ticket holder for over thirty years I’m pleased to say I haven’t given up on Arsenal. But that doesn’t mean common sense goes out the window. I guess the most important thing for all of us to remember is just saying it/hoping it doesn’t make it happen. It’s down to the reality on the pitch, and off it. Anyway, it’s all speculation at present and we’ll get a better idea come Christmas/early New Year.


Bringing that “old” Arsenal energy hey?

I think everyone sits near someone like that.


“old”. A bit cheap old chap.


I wasn’t referring to the persons age but more the “old” energy that Arsenal are known all over the country for – pessimistic, booing, complaining about everything… You know the type.


Id say thats more associated with modern day youtube types. than old fans.


Bloody hell you are old! Sorry, but my parents were still toddlers then


Everybody grows old..what’s the big deal..


Anyone know if ESR is back in contention yet?

Man Manny

He’s not. Still a couple of weeks away.


Just found an article saying he was back in full training now. Where are you getting a couple of weeks from?

The Far Post

Really disappointed about the ESR injury. Was hoping that he would get the opportunity to prove himself to be LANS. Perhaps he still will, even after Aouar signed for us 😉

Potential Return: 17/10/2020

He should be back to full fitness after the international break.

So excited for ESR, people have forgotten him and Saka worked well together in the Europa League.

Eddy F

Liverpool will fully rotate as well and play youngsters. Should be a good game. I expect:

Saliba Luiz Gabriel
Cedric Ceballos Xhaka Saka
Pepe Nketiah Nelson

Can’t see him pairing Willock and Ceballos in midfield together so expect either Xhaka or Elneny to start. Tierney can’t be risked, and with Kolasinac possibly leaving I can’t see this being the time we experiment with 4 at the back (Saka is not a LB).


I think Elneny/Willock instead of Ceballos/Xhaka. The latter will be better saved for Sheffield United at the weekend.

I also wouldn’t play Runarsson in this game; Anfield is not the place to make your debut in English football. Save him for the Europa Group stages.


Would prefer to see Elneny-Ceballos given a go against the blades. It’s the type of game that Xhaka struggles in.


Xhaka struggles in most games or havent you noticed that yet?


Have you guys seen the rumors about AMN joining ManU? What the heck?!


Stranger things have happened…..


Some dismissal that!


No, but highly possible. Anything can happen now.


These used to be where we got to see the shinny Carlos Vela, and few similar others… How times change. We have hope.

Bai Blagoi

I would like to see Emile Smith Row given a chance. If he cannot feature even in a League Cup game, then better let him go on load again.


If he wasn’t injured yes.

Tanned arse

If sokratis plays ahead of saliba I’d have serious questions as to what’s going on. This adaptation to premiership football isn’t going to happen without playing. He’s already extremely capable. Are we that afraid of how our supporters will react when he makes an error? This guy played 17 games in ligue 1 last season (with the team being more solid with him in it). He played half a season the year before that. He’s already adapted to the level of top flight French football and was fit and ready for our first pre season friendly. Since then, no injury… Read more »


It is a mystery, but in Arteta I trust.


He had loads of injuries and was overplayed. I can remember an article about him being put on a special programme because his core was so weak, and I suspect he may be like Tierney and take a while to get fit and up to speed. I think it’s as much a fitness issue as anything else, and most players start with u23s when they’re building up fitness. I’d rather he takes time than a setback.

Tanned arse

He had 2 injuries. He was ready to play the french cup final. He’s been fit for months. He’s trained for months. He’s trained with 1st team since they came back to pre season. He even played the first 45 minutes in our first friendly and was sharp. If he was injured none of this would be happening and he wouldn’t be playing under 23’s. We’re protecting him and stiffling his progress and ours. And its a trend. There’s always a time to take young players out of the team when they’re breaking through. That time isn’t when they’re playing… Read more »


Spot on fella. Can’t disagree with any of that.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Saliba and Guendouzi were Emery’s projects. There may be a bit of reluctancy from the current management.


emery didnt chose any of the signings.

Mick Malthouse

Yay? I feel nothing.


I hope at least one youngster starts the game for us to overanalyze ?


We have absolutely nothing to lose and it would be a laugh if we actually knocked Liverpool out.

Not saying we are going to win – but, fuck it, it’s the League Cup, let’s get behind the lads anyway.

Come on You Gunners.


Yeah exactly, I don’t care what it is, I want us to win absolutely every game we play. Winning is fun! If we don’t win, move on and hope we win the next one.

D Matheson

But wait, has Arsenal confirmed recently that they reached agreement with both Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares to join the club on permanent deals? It’s been at least a month since their last confirmation. I don’t know.

blue cheese

supporters were demanding an announcement, so they tweeted a rerun of an old announcement. the club social media earned a 10/10 that day


Insane the Carabao cup how we are matched with first Leceister now Liverpool. And how many times have we played Liverpool already… Did not bother metioning last match. I think its a reality check for us. most people are gullible in believing we are getting somewhere with cup wins but league is a very different thing and we are still struggling for fluency over 38 matches. That midfield still looks thin on options. Elneny and Granit were OKish but was a very negative selection by the gaffer. Ceballos coming on and executing 3 key passes to set up Laca twice… Read more »

Willian was on a rollercoaster during that game. There was 1 moment where he made an excellent recovery tracking a Liverpool player. However this was completely negated for their 2nd goal.

Holding and Bellerin were tightly marking Firmino & Mané respectively but Robertson was making a darting run from near the Liverpool half into the penalty box. In the sequence Willian only realised Robertson had eluded him when Robertson was near the 6 yard box.


I expect we should give some younger players a good run.

Nketiah again, Nelson, Saka. Cedric will get a run but at Cback, prefer to see Magalhaes and Saliba frankly to Sokratis.

Midfield is a bit bereft. Maybe we will need Xhaka in. Willlock may play

Prob we will go back 3 again but I wonder if back 4 will suprise them with an extra in midfield. Ceballos found plenty of joy catching their high line.

Out on left back might get Kolasinac since he is still around.

The Far Post

Sorry this is off topic, but if Arsenal get Aouar, who would come out of the team for him to start? If it is one of the central defenders, then who would be in the MF three?

If it stays a three man defense, would he pair with Xhaka, or even perhaps Elneny? Ceballos and Aouar would be exciting, but Arteta hasn’t been picking Ceballos for some reason.

Pune Gooner

As per Lyon president, aouar will only move by tomorrow or will stay. Friday is the deadline.

Thank god whatever happens it will end by tomorrow.


Owh no papa?!!


Why can’t you put out our best side on the day, you sold our best Goalie and kept Leno who is terrible at coming out or corners because he is cowardly. Worst of all, you always pick Holding who is by far the worst player in the league, I wouldn’t pick him in a Saturday afternoon non league side…. Please change, you were an excellent player and could be a great manager but stop picking your favourite players who can’t play…..

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