Mikel Arteta gives major hint for Carabao Cup selection as Arsenal boss talks up ‘very serious’ approach

Mikel Arteta gives major hint for Carabao Cup selection as Arsenal boss talks up ‘very serious’ approach

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are taking their Carabao Cup clash with Brighton on Wednesday “very seriously” and has vowed to pick a “very competitive team”.

Arsenal have enjoyed a brilliant start to the season and have lost just twice in all competitions so far.

The Gunners are currently top of the Premier League, while they also came first in their Europa League group to secure a bye to the last-16.

Arsenal’s fine form in the Europa League and Premier League had led to suggestions Arteta may rotate heavily for the Carabao Cup third-round tie at home to Brighton on Wednesday.

But Arteta said: “It is a different competition but the purpose is the same, to play as good as we can, win the game and go into the next round. You know there are no second chances and we’ll take it very seriously.

“We’re going to pick a very competitive team. I think everyone deserves chances, and we’ll make some changes with judgement in relation to the load of the players, but we’ll play to win.

“The ones that haven’t played want to have their chance, and feel that they are contributing to the team. The positive thing is that everybody has played games and everyone has been important.

“We have two games to go, and the focus has to be there because we know that afterwards we have a big break.”

Arteta, as he has in the Europa League this season, is still expected to make changes to his side for the game with Brighton at Emirates Stadium, but the possibility of him fielding a team of youngsters now appears unlikely.

The likes of Eddie Nketiah, Fabio Vieira and Rob Holding should come into the side, though, with Arteta praising how players have performed when they’ve been given a chance.

“They’ve dealt with [the fixture list] really well,” he added. “I think we had a really good pre-season and we put the boys in a really good condition to face this fixture congestion, and they have responded extremely well, especially the way we play which is really intense.

“I think we are the team in Europe who has rotated the most, and obviously that has its benefits as well. When you are winning, the energy is better and the mood is better, but the preparation is a bit easier, so overall I think they have coped with it really well.

“When they have been used, they have performed really well. For periods in games in the Premier League and when they have started games in the Europa League and the Premier League, I think they have been really consistent. It’s a joy of a group to work with because they’re really at it every day.”