MX23RW : Tuesday, October 19 13:35:36| >> :120:3890:3890:
Sep 22, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Emirates Stadium
AFC WimbledonAFC Wimbledon
Lacazette (11' pen.), Smith Rowe (77'), Nketiah (80')
FT(HT: 1-0)

McCormick (30'), Heneghan (45')

Preview: Arsenal vs. AFC Wimbledon - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's EFL Cup clash between Arsenal and AFC Wimbledon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Arsenal will aim to secure a straightforward route into the last-16 of the EFL Cup when they welcome League One side AFC Wimbledon to the Emirates on Wednesday evening.

The Gunners trounced West Bromwich Albion 6-0 in the second round to advance, while Wimbledon have overcome Charlton Athletic and Northampton Town to get this far.

Match preview

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring their first goal against Burnley in the Premier League on September 18, 2021© Reuters

Once again, a distinct lack of ruthlessness bedevilled Arsenal against Burnley, but a moment of magic from one of Mikel Arteta's summer signings ultimately propelled the Gunners to a 1-0 win - just like the days of old.

Martin Odegaard's sweetly-struck free kick was all that could separate the two sides on the day, although Arteta admitted that his side should have scored more, and the Gunners also had VAR to thank for overturning a Burnley penalty in the second half.

Nevertheless, it is now back-to-back wins for Arsenal in the top flight following their previous success over Norwich City, and Arteta's men needed no second invitation to hit six unanswered goals past a youthful West Brom side in the second round of the EFL Cup.

Successive defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City are now a thing of the past for Arsenal, who have won three out of their last four games in all competitions - keeping a clean sheet on each occasion - but an inability to kill the game off at Turf Moor did raise concern among Gooners.

For all of their success in the FA Cup in recent years, Arsenal have not lifted the EFL Cup since 1993 and have only advanced past the quarter-finals once in the past 10 seasons, where they went down 3-0 to Manchester City in the final of the 2017-18 edition.

Wimbledon's own 1-0 victories have seen them book a memorable trip to the Emirates Stadium, with the League One side prevailing against Charlton and Northampton away from home in the previous rounds of the EFL Cup.

Mark Robinson's side were building momentum before the weekend with a five-game unbeaten run across all tournaments, but they were brought crashing back down to earth at home to Plymouth Argyle, who marched to their own 1-0 success thanks to Ryan Hardie's 47th-minute effort.

Wimbledon - who are hovering around the playoff places in League One - had previously found the back of the net 12 times in victories over Oxford United, Portsmouth and Morecambe, and they have only lost one of their six away games so far this season, although none have taken place at the Emirates.

A third-round finish already represents Wimbledon's best-ever run in the EFL Cup - they have fallen at the first hurdle in eight of the last nine seasons - but not many will be expecting their first-ever meeting with Arsenal to be a joyous occasion.

Arsenal EFL Cup form:
  • W

Arsenal form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

AFC Wimbledon EFL Cup form:
  • W
  • W

AFC Wimbledon form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Gabriel Martinelli in action for Arsenal in April 2021© Reuters

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka serves the third and final game of his suspension this week, while Mohamed Elneny is dealing with a hamstring problem and Kieran Tierney is unlikely to be risked with cramp.

A raft of changes can be expected from the Gunners this week, starting with Bernd Leno coming back in goal while Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Nuno Tavares could earn starts in defence.

Gabriel Martinelli and Alexandre Lacazette are in contention to feature in the attack, while 17-year-old Charlie Patino - who has caught the eye for the Under-23s - could also make the squad.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon's three-goal midfielder Jack Rudoni has a "slight possibility" of being fit for the trip to the Emirates, according to Robinson, but Paul Kalambayi is out for at least six weeks with a muscle injury.

Left-back Paul Osew is expected to return to training before Wednesday and should be in contention to make the squad, while Premier League loanees Dapo Mebude and Aaron Pressley will battle for a start up top.

Chelsea loanee Henry Lawrence could shift to the right-hand side of defence if Osew is deemed fit enough to play, which would see Cheye Alexander make way for the 19-year-old.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari, Tavares; Lokonga, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette

AFC Wimbledon possible starting lineup:
Tzanev; Lawrence, Charles, Heneghan, Osew; Marsh, Woodyard; Chislett, McCormick, Assal; Mebude

SM words green background

We say: Arsenal 4-0 AFC Wimbledon

Arsenal are long-overdue a run in the EFL Cup, and one can only begin to imagine what a shock defeat here would mean for Arteta's future in the hotseat.

Wimbledon have looked bright on the attacking front during the early stages of this season, but we still expect a second-string Arsenal XI to cruise through to the next round.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring against West Bromwich Albion in the EFL Cup on August 25, 2021
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