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Two key Arsenal players set to miss Liverpool trip

Huge blow: Arsenal set to be without two key midfielders in Carabao Cup semifinal vs Liverpool

January 13, 2022 By Ali M.
Mikel Arteta's side, who were already light on midfielders due to AFCON 2021, will be without two influential names.

Arsenal are set to be in action on Thursday, with the Gunners gearing up for a crucial trip to Anfield for the Carabao Cup semifinals. However, the north London giants have been hit with a huge blow as two key midfielders are set to miss this trip.

The clash with Liverpool will be the first leg of this penultimate stage due to the cancelation of last week's Emirates Stadium tie. The Merseyside giants asked for a postponement of that game due to a suspected COVID-19 outbreak, meaning this midweek's encounter will be the first leg.

However, it's the Gunners who are now facing a team crisis as both Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard look to be unavailable for this tough tie. Things are made worse by the fact that Mikel Arteta's side were short on midfielders prior to this latest report.

This is according to Goal, with their Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts revealing that the Norwegian talent, who started in Arsenal's 1-0 FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest, missed training on Thursday and was also not part of the traveling squad. The reason for his absence, whether it is due to injury or COVID-19, remains unclear.

This will be a huge blow given how important the former Real Madrid playmaker has been for the north London giants recently. Odegaard was nominated for the December Premier League Player of the Month, helping his club climb up to fourth in the English top-flight.

Smith Rowe, on the other hand, sat out the shock FA Cup defeat due to a groin issue and has reportedly not recovered in time for today's trip to Anfield. Given that he is the club's top scorer this season, his presence was needed, especially in the aftermath of Arsenal's toothless performance at the City Ground.

And that's not all as Arteta could be without Japanese right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who has been one of the Gunners' most reliable defenders this season, as he continues to struggle with a calf problem. Cedric Soares will be called upon to deputize, but his recent displays have not filled the fans with confidence.

On a positive note, Granit Xhaka is back after recovering from COVID-19 and completing his isolation period. The Swiss ace will likely return to the lineup in place for youngster Charlie Patino. However, due to the absence of Elneny and Partey at the Africa Cup of Nations, he will be partnered with Lokonga.

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