Arsenal could turn to youngsters against Reading

Lucas Perez

Both of Lucas Perez’s two Arsenal goals have come in the EFL Cup

BBC coverage

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to make changes for the EFL Cup fourth-round tie against Reading.

Youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Chuba Akpom could all feature alongside £17.1m forward Lucas Perez, but Granit Xhaka is suspended.

Reading travel to the Emirates after ending their four-game winless run with victory over Rotherham on Saturday.

Captain Paul McShane said “the shackles are off” his side for the game.

The 30-year-old defender said cup competitions were “secondary” for the promotion-chasing Royals this season, but added: “That makes Tuesday night’s match a bonus game.

“We’ll go and enjoy the game, and everything is possible.”

The Gunners are unbeaten since the opening day of the season, winning nine of 12 games domestically and in Europe.


BBC Radio Berkshire commentator Tim Dellor:

“Whenever Arsenal and Reading have met in the past, there have been lots of goals.

“In the 10 games between the two sides, 35 goals have been scored, 12 of them came the last time the two sides met in the League Cup. Arsenal came from 4-0 down to beat Reading 7-5 in the fourth round in 2012.

“Reading boast a more solid defence nowadays, but struggle to score goals. A 1-0 win at Rotherham on Saturday was fairly typical.

“Arsenal haven’t lost since the opening day of the Premier League season, so will offer a far sterner test than the Championship’s bottom team.

“Jaap Stam will be on the touchline alongside the only manager who was in post when he was a player at Manchester United, in Arsene Wenger.

“His Reading team are trying to adopt a similar style of play, but some fans might think trying to play Arsenal at their own game is madness.”

Match facts

  • Arsenal’s 7-5 win at Reading in October 2012 is the joint highest-scoring match in League Cup history (also Dagenham 6-6 Brentford in August 2014).
  • Reading have lost all 13 of their previous meetings with Arsenal in all competitions.
  • The Gunners have lost their past two home games in the League Cup. They have never lost three in a row at home in the competition before.
  • However, they are unbeaten in their past 27 home League Cup games against sides from a lower division (W24 D3), since a 1-2 loss against Walsall in November 1983.
  • The last two times Reading have reached this stage of the competition, they have been eliminated by Arsenal (losing 3-0 in November 2005 and 7-5 in October 2012).

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