EFL Cup Quarter Finals preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester City (Tue - 20:00h. GMT; 21:00h. CET) - Team news, possible lineups

A place in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup is up for grabs on Tuesday night when out-of-form Arsenal welcome holders Manchester City to the Emirates Stadium.

The student meets the master again as under-fire Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta looks to ease the pressure on his shoulders with victory over his former boss Pep Guardiola.

Match preview

Tuesday will mark one year and two days since Arteta left Man City to take over as Arsenal boss, and defeat to his former club may ensure that his reign does not last much longer.

The Spaniard has won the FA Cup and Community Shield in that time and so this competition offers him the chance to complete a clean sweep of domestic cups early in his senior managerial career, but those triumphs will already feel like a long time ago.

Indeed, even Arsenal's penalty shootout win over Liverpool in the last round of this competition seems in the distant past, with the Gunners having won just two domestic outings since that match at the beginning of October.

Saturday's 2-1 defeat to another of Arteta's former clubs, Everton, means that they have picked up just 14 points from 14 Premier League games this season - their worst start to a campaign since 1974-75.

Just two of those points have come from the last 21 available in the league, with Arsenal now winless in their last seven top-flight outings and with eight defeats in their last 12.

The prospect of Arsenal suffering relegation from the top division for the first time since 1912-13 began as a joke amongst rival fans and will still not be regarded as a serious possibility by most, but there is no getting away from the fact that they are currently in relegation form.

Only rock-bottom Sheffield United have fared worse in recent weeks, and at this rate Arsenal would finish the campaign on 38 points - a tally which would have seen them relegated in seven previous Premier League seasons.

The beleaguered Arteta will be hoping for some respite in the EFL Cup, then, and cup competitions have provided a welcome distraction for Arsenal over the past decade or so, especially this season.

The Gunners won all six of their Europa League group games and, in stark contrast to the rest of their domestic form, have beaten Leicester City and Liverpool away from home in the previous two rounds of this competition.

However, while Arsenal have the richest history of any club in the FA Cup - which Arteta himself added to last season - their League Cup record is much worse and they have been eliminated from six of their last eight quarter-finals.

The Gunners have now reached this stage an unparalleled 29 times, yet they have only gone on to lift the trophy twice, most recently in 1993.

Given their success in the FA Cup during that time, it could be suggested that Arsenal do not take this competition as seriously as others, although that is not an accusation that could be levelled at Guardiola and Man City.

The current holders of the trophy have tasted glory five times in the last seven years, including each of the last three seasons, and are looking to become only the second team in history - after Liverpool from 1981 to 1984 - to lift the trophy four times in a row.

Doing so would also see them equal Liverpool as the most successful club in League Cup history with eight triumphs overall and, given that they have not lost an EFL Cup tie since October 2016, they will be confident of doing that.

There is still a long way to go before they can start thinking about the trophy, of course, but they will nonetheless be confident of extending a run which has seen them win all eight of their League Cup ties in London since December 2003 - including victory over Arsenal in the 2018 final.

Guardiola's men are now unbeaten in their last eight games across all competitions, and perhaps the most impressive aspect of that run has been their defensive record, with seven clean sheets and only one goal conceded.

Saturday's 1-0 victory at high-flying Southampton was a fourth clean sheet in a row away from home, while they have lost just one of their last 13 on the road across all competitions.

In the EFL Cup alone Man City have won each of their last 10 away games, including a 3-0 triumph at Burnley in the last round, and while other competitions may be their priority this season, Guardiola is very much of the belief that every trophy counts.

Arteta is cut from the same cloth as his former mentor and so may rate the EFL Cup more highly than his predecessors, although simply an elusive victory would be as valuable to the Gunners right now as progressing into the last four.

Arsenal do have recent history to fall back on in order to give them confidence too, with their last cup meeting with Man City ending in a 2-0 win en route to lifting the FA Cup last season.

Arsenal EFL Cup form: WW
Arsenal form (all competitions): WLWLDL

Manchester City EFL Cup form: WW
Manchester City form (all competitions): DWWDDW

Team News

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the hero in that FA Cup semi-final clash last season, but Arsenal will be without their captain again for this match due to a calf injury.

Aubameyang missed the defeat to Everton at the weekend and Arteta has since confirmed that he could face a couple of weeks on the sidelines, ruling him out of Man City's visit and potentially keeping him out until the New Year.

Thomas Partey is also still sidelined, while Granit Xhaka serves the third and final game of his suspension following his red card against Burnley.

Gabriel Magalhaes is available again after serving a ban on his own at the weekend, while a number of fringe players will be hoping for opportunities with Arteta likely to rotate his squad.

Changes are also expected from Guardiola as both managers look to keep their squads fresh amidst a hectic festive fixture schedule.

Gabriel Jesus could miss out once again due to a "condition in his teeth" which ruled him out of the win at Southampton, while Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia are also injury doubts.

Raheem Sterling will hope to start again having scored on his last two visits to the Emirates Stadium, and having had a direct hand in 17 goals from his last 25 League Cup appearances.

Sergio Aguero, Benjamin Mendy, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Fernandinho and Nathan Ake are among the players who will be pushing for inclusion after sitting out at the weekend.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Mustafi, Gabriel, Luiz; Bellerin, Ceballos, Elneny, Kolasinac; Willock, Lacazette, Saka

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Steffen; Cancelo, Stones, Ake, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan; Mahrez, Foden, Torres; Aguero

Source: Sports Mole / Barney Corkhill


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