In recent years, the League Cup has served as a platform for Arsenal to blood youth players into the starting XI and give them a chance to experience first team football. This policy backfired last season when Arsenal suffered an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, despite knocking out Sp**s in the 3rd round.
Wenger started an inexperienced pair in Iwobi and Kamara and also gave game time to Bielik and Bennacer later in the match. It was a night to forget for the Gunners with injuries to Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain topping the night off.
However, this season could be different. Arsenal have a much deeper and experienced squad and this could serve as a huge advantage for the team in a competition where chopping and changing is the norm. Arsenal will start with Ospina in goal who is a very good 2nd choice goalkeeper as proven in the draw away against PSG. A potential back four of Holding, Mustafi, Gabriel and Gibbs is experienced and capable enough of dealing with the Forest attack. The midfield should consist of Xhaka and Elneny if Wenger goes with an experienced XI but should he want to give a young central midfielder a chance, we might see Zelalem or Maitland-Niles.
The front attacking trio should see Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi start depending on how well Iwobi recovered after his emphatic performance away at Hull. With Giroud out injured, Perez should get the nod up front and this leaves a free space in the starting XI potentially on the left.
Maitland-Niles may start if Wenger chooses to go with two experienced heads in central midfield or there is a chance that he will incorporate Akpom and Perez into the same side. The likelihood would be that Perez moves onto the right side of midfield and Chuba up top should the boss choose the pair of them.
There may be a place for Chris Willock in the starting XI if Wenger does choose a more youthful team Bielik might get another chance.
Tomorrow night will give us a good idea of how seriously Wenger is going to take the League Cup and it would be great to see some young players, however a trophy is a trophy and with the depth of the squad you would think that Arsenal will play a strong XI in Nottingham.
Forest have had a mixed start with a few wins and a few loses however, they have the Championship experience and are overall a very decent side. It may be written in the stars and would be typical that Lord Bendtner will score, but we just hope that our defence is capable of keeping him quiet.