Arsenal - Football tactics and formations

The EFL Cup returns this week, and for the biggest teams in the Premier League, it’s time for their first game in the competition this season.

Both Chelsea and Manchester United are yet to play in the cup this season, but Arsenal, thanks to their lowly league finish last term, had to join one round earlier than the best teams in the country.

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They saw off West Brom 6-0 as Mikel Arteta’s side delivered a much needed win. With Championship high-flyers dealt with, Arsenal now face AFC Wimbledon with a place in the fourth round up for grabs.

As for Chelsea and Man Utd, the Blues face Aston Villa again, after recently beating them in the league, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team host West Ham, just days after their dramatic encounter in the Premier League.

All three go into the round as favourites, but how will the managers set up, and will they give their stars a well-earned rest?

How will Arsenal line up?

Aaron Ramsdale was chosen for Arsenal’s most recent league game, so it will be Bernd Leno in between the sticks in the cup. In front of him, it could be all change from the win over Burnley, with Cedric, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, and Nuno Tavares coming into the side.

As for further forward, Albert-Sambi Lokonga should return, while youngster Charlie Patino is in contention for a shock first-team appearance after impressing with the Under 23s, although that will likely be from the bench. Ainsley Maitland-Niles should be deployed in the double pivot.

In forward areas, Arteta has surprisingly few options, so Nicolas Pepe and Emile Smith Rowe could be forced to start. Gabriel Martinelli has been left out recently, and so should finally get another chance, while youngster Folarin Balogun could lead the line.

How will Chelsea line up?

Thomas Tuchel has plenty of options available to him, and with a bloated squad, he can afford to give minutes to those who haven’t played much recently. Edouard Mendy’s injury means Kepa Arrizabalaga started against Tottenham, and he’ll get another chance in the cup. Trevoh Chalobah will return to the defence, while it’s likely that Andreas Christensen is also handed a start. Antonio Rudiger needs a rest so will probably be afforded one.

Saul will start in midfield, likely alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek, while Ben Chilwell should finally see some action this season at left wing-back.

Timo Werner should lead the line with Romelu Lukaku rested, ready for league action.

Chelsea - Football tactics and formations

How will Manchester United line up?

Dean Henderson featured for Man Utd’s Under 23 side last week, and is yet to play in the league this term. With David de Gea starting 2021/22 so well that’s not much of a surprise, but he should be given a start in the cup in order to gain some minutes.

Diogo Dalot will come in at right-back, but Luke Shaw will need to play as Alex Telles is still returning to full fitness.

Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly are very much on the fringes right now, but will have their chance to prove themselves in the cup. Ahead of them, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic are the most likely double pivot, as they didn’t start in the league, while Jadon Sancho will look to rectify his poor start to life at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard will supply Anthony Martial through the middle.

Man Utd - Football tactics and formations

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By ariox