The announcement of Arsenal’s starting XI for their Carabao Cup third-round clash with Brentford has triggered an array of responses from the Gunners’ fanbase. Intent on avoiding a repeat of last season’s third-round exit at the hands of Brighton, Arsenal have embarked on a challenging journey to west London. However, they will need to be wary of suffering the same ill fate.
Last season’s early departure from the tournament still lingers in the minds of Arsenal supporters, who watched their team fall to Brighton in a poor loss. On the day, Danny Welbeck, Kaoru Mitoma and Tariq Lamptey guided the Seagulls to a comeback win, as the Gunners faltered after scoring the opening goal via Eddie Nketiah.
The timing is crucial for Mikel Arteta‘s men, as they aim to capitalize on a Brentford side still smarting from a recent home defeat against Everton. Brentford’s head coach Thomas Frank will rally his squad for this significant cup fixture, but he will need to ensure they can set aside the 3-1 shock loss against the Toffees.
For the Gunners, an early cup exit would likely be a blow to the team’s morale, while also raising questions about Arteta’s ability to steer the club to silverware. Conversely, a win could serve as a much-needed boost, invigorating the team.
The reactions from Arsenal fans on social media have been varied, to say the least. They took to X (formerly Twitter) to share their views on the starting lineup with posts like these:
Arsenal manager Arteta signals crucial opportunity for Emile Smith Rowe in upcoming Brentford showdown
In the lead-up to the game, Mikel Arteta has signaled that Emile Smith Rowe is poised to receive a significant opportunity to reclaim his place in the starting lineup. The 23-year-old midfielder, who swiftly rose through the ranks to become one of Arsenal’s most promising talents under Arteta, saw last season marred by injuries.
His inability to secure a regular spot since regaining fitness has elicited questions, but Arteta maintains that caution is necessary for a player he still views as invaluable. Smith Rowe carved out a reputation for himself as a dynamic and versatile midfielder in the early days of Arteta’s tenure at the Emirates Stadium. However, his progress was hampered by a string of injuries.
Smith Rowe has been named in the starting lineup against the Bees, and it will mark his first starting appearance for the Gunners since May of 2022. While Smith Rowe’s lack of playing time has been a point of contention among fans and pundits alike, Arteta has offered clarifications. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Arsenal manager commented (via Mirror):
“There’s been many reasons why he hasn’t started a match. He was out for a long, long time. In the last two matches, he’s played more minutes and today [Wednesday] he will have a big chance to show that he can play at this level and be a really important player for us.”
“He needs time on the pitch and he needs opportunities and we want to provide that to him. Then he needs to prove it like anybody else on the field that he deserves to play.”
Arteta has not been shy about expressing his admiration for Smith Rowe in the past, and it appears that the manager’s faith in the player remains intact. This Carabao Cup fixture against Brentford could serve as a turning point for Smith Rowe, affording him a high-profile platform to reignite his season.