MX23RW : Saturday, May 25 07:47:41| >> :600:17760623:17760623:
Oct 31, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium (London)
Attendance: 48,168
Arsenal
2-1
Blackpool
Lichtsteiner (33'), Smith Rowe (50')
Guendouzi (56')
FT(HT: 1-0)
O'Connor (66')
O'Connor (84')

Preview: Arsenal vs. Blackpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full match preview of Arsenal's EFL Cup clash with Blackpool.

Arsenal will look to return to winning ways on Wednesday night when they welcome League One side Blackpool to the Emirates Stadium in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

The Gunners saw their 11-match winning run come to an end against Crystal Palace at the weekend, but will fancy their chances of overcoming Blackpool to progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition.


Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate Arsenal's opening goal in the win over Everton on September 23, 2018© Reuters

Arsenal's winning run was always going to come to an end at some point, and that was the case on Sunday afternoon when Palace scored late to secure a share of the spoils at Selhurst Park. After 11 straight victories between August 25 and October 25, the Gunners have seen their excellent run come to a close.

There is no doubting that Arsenal have made serious progress over the last couple of months, however, and the League Cup will provide new head coach Unai Emery with the chance to put some silverware in the trophy cabinet.

Coming off the back of a tough draw away from home in the Premier League, and looking ahead to a home match with Liverpool this weekend, Blackpool at home is a nice fixture for Arsenal, with the greatest of respect to the League One outfit.

Even last season, which was disappointing for a number of reasons, Arsenal were strong in front of their own supporters, and the capital outfit have won each of their last six at the Emirates Stadium, losing only to Manchester City since Ostersunds beat them in the Europa League back in February.

It is an interesting period of the season for Arsenal as they face Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in two of their next three Premier League matches. The Gunners are pretty much there in terms of qualification for the next round of the Europa League, and enjoying success in the cup competitions is important for the club this season.

The League Cup is a competition that Arsenal have won on two previous occasions, the last of which came in 1993. They have only had to play once to reach this stage of the competition, comfortably beating Brentford at the Emirates Stadium towards the end of last month.

The Gunners have also not lost to a lower-league team in the League Cup since 2015, and they will enter Wednesday's match as the overwhelming favourites to book their spot in the quarter-finals.

Recent form: WWDWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWD


Blackpool

Blackpool will take on Arsenal for the first time in over seven years when they travel to the Emirates Stadium in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday night. Not since April 2011 have Blackpool faced the Gunners, and that Premier League clash at Bloomfield Road ended in a 3-1 away win.

Blackpool shipped six when they last visited Arsenal in August 2010, meanwhile, and it would be fair to say that a lot has changed since the Seasiders were a Premier League club. These days, they compete in League One, and finished a modest 12th in the third tier of English football last season.

This term, Terry McPhillips's side sit 12th in League One, but do have two games in hand on the majority of the teams around them. They have only lost two of their 14 league fixtures this season, and will travel to the English capital on Wednesday night knowing that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Blackpool's 2018-19 EFL Cup campaign started against Barnsley in the middle of August, and a 3-1 win over their league rivals saw them progress. Then came an impressive 2-1 victory away at Doncaster Rovers in the next round, before they beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0 on home soil at the end of last month.

McPhillips's side will enter this match off the back of a 3-2 defeat at Fleetwood Town on Saturday, but they have won two of their last three matches, meaning that confidence is high ahead of the clash in London.

From a football sense, Blackpool will feel that Saturday's home match against Bristol Rovers is more important than the clash with Arsenal. The league is the bread and butter for the Tangerines, but the chance to play away at one of the biggest clubs in England is not an opportunity that comes around too often.

Recent form: WLLWWW
Recent form (all competitions): DDLWWL


Team News

Emile Smith-Rowe celebrates his equaliser during the pre-season friendly between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid on July 26, 2018© Reuters


Arsenal boss Emery will make wholesale changes to the team that started against Palace in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

Indeed, Mohamed Elneny, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Danny Welbeck and Emile Smith Rowe are all expected to make the XI, while Petr Cech should return between the sticks.

That said, Emery still has concerns over the fitness of the likes of Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal, meaning that Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin could again be pressed into action.

Blackpool will be without the services of centre-forward Armand Gnanduillet, who was sent off in his team's 3-2 defeat at Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

Former Salford City defender Michael Nottingham came off the bench in the loss to Fleetwood and should now start, while Nathan Delfouneso and Liam Feeney are expected to feature in the final third of the field.

There will also be Premier League experience in the middle of the Blackpool midfield, with former Liverpool youngster Jay Spearing expected to start.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Bellerin, Holding, Sokratis, Lichtsteiner; Elneny, Guendouzi; Mkhitaryan, Smith Rowe, Iwobi; Welbeck

Blackpool possible starting lineup:
Howard; Nottingham, Heneghan, Tilt, Bola; Spearing, Guy, Thompson; Feeney, Delfouneso, Cullen


Head To Head

Wednesday will bring the first meeting between Arsenal and Blackpool since a Premier League match in April 2011. The Gunners won that fixture 3-1, and also recorded a 6-0 win over Blackpool when the pair last met in London.

Blackpool have not actually beaten Arsenal since an FA Cup clash in January 1970, with the Gunners winning six of their eight matches since then.

Overall, Arsenal lead the head-to-head record 43 wins to Blackpool's 15, with the remaining 24 matches finishing all square.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Arsenal 3-0 Blackpool

Emery will make wholesale changes to his Arsenal XI, but it is very, very difficult to imagine Blackpool causing an upset here. We fancy a comfortable home win.


Who will win Wednesday's clash at the Emirates Stadium?

Arsenal
Blackpool
Arsenal
87.1%
Blackpool
12.9%
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Aaron Ramsey in action for Arsenal on September 15, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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