Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah misses out on the chance to gain some minutes against Manchester City after he returned a positive Covid-19 test.
Nketiah, 22, was starting to find some confidence in recent games but this latest set back has added to the difficulties he is facing ahead of the January transfer window.
Before the Sunderland win, a game in which the third choice striker netted a rare hat-trick, Arsenal’s number 30 was set for the exit door in the new year but those plans may have been put on hold whilst he tries to make a late statement of intent to Mikel Arteta.
“I’m just eager to play football. I’m here and under contract,” said Nketiah after the quarter-final win. ”As long as I play for Arsenal I’m going to give my all.”
He added: “This competition [Carabao Cup] has given me opportunities to play.
“I’m desperate to play football, every player wants to play. All I can do is work hard and it will work itself out.”
His plan though now faces some complications as he joins manager Arteta in watching proceedings against Pep Guardiola’s side from the comfort of his home.
“First of all, I feel much, much better today,” the Spaniard informed in the media in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“I had a couple of rough days, but I have experienced this before so not bad at all. The rest of the squad is in a good place. We tested the players we don’t have any other news than the ones we had before.
“And try to communicate with them as much as possible and rely on the team and coaches that we have. I believe in them 100%.”
Arsenal come in the contest against the current Premier League champions looking to maintain the four point buffer they currently have over West Ham in the current standings.
On top of this, a shock win, which Martin Keown has already predicted, would close the gap to both Liverpool and Chelsea at three and four points respectively ahead of their clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Nketiah himself now has a big decision to make regarding his overall situation at the club.
Does he sit it out and hope things improve before the summer amid Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s ongoing fall out or does he take the plunge and make the move to a club like Crystal Palace, where he is guaranteed a lot more game time in the short term.
Well, if the decision is up to his current manager then the former of the two options is what is looking more likely at the moment, unless the player in question takes matters into his own hands.
“We are having some discussions with him and his agent. I would like him to stay at the club,” Arteta said
“He’s our player and someone that we rate. He has the Arsenal DNA in his blood. His reason [of rejecting] is that he wants to play more football.”