Daily Express

Com­pe­ti­tion is get­ting se­ri­ous for Arteta

- PAUL BROWN Sports · Soccer · Arsenal F.C. · Josep Guardiola · Manchester City Football Club · Manchester · Leicester City F.C. · Dijon · West Ham United F.C. · Dijon FCO

MIKEL ARTETA thinks the Carabao Cup has be­come a life­line for a grow­ing num­ber of Premier League tro­phy hunters.

And the Arse­nal man­ager, who won the com­pe­ti­tion back- to- back as Pep Guardi­ola’s as­sis­tant at Manch­ester City, in­sists the Gunners will be tak­ing it se­ri­ously.

Arteta has vowed not to play the kids at Le­ices­ter tonight and is in it to win it this sea­son when it comes to a com­pe­ti­tion re­garded by some as an af­ter­thought.

He said: “Is it taken se­ri­ously enough? I think it is. In the last few sea­sons, I think this com­pe­ti­tion

LE­ICES­TER V ARSE­NAL 7.45PM

has raised in im­por­tance for the clubs.

“There is only one win­ner in the Premier League. That leaves a lot of frus­trated clubs and now ev­ery­body wants a tro­phy.

“You can see in the last few years the types of fi­nals we have seen and that teams have used strong line- ups.

“We are go­ing to take the Carabao Cup se­ri­ously, that is for sure. Ob­vi­ously with the fix­tures we have, the num­ber of games, it is very dif­fi­cult. But we have to go day by day, let’s see what po­si­tion we are in for Wed­nes­day to try to put out the strong­est pos­si­ble team to try to win it.” The game comes too soon for Alex Ru­nars­son, who signed from Di­jon for nearly £ 2mil­lion on Mon­day. But Ed­die Nke­tiah looks cer­tain to start af­ter com­ing off the bench to score the win­ner against West Ham on Satur­day. Arteta could also bring Wil­liam Sal­iba into the squad for the first time af­ter ad­mit­ting the 19- year- old de­fender needs time to adapt to English foot­ball.

The Gunners boss said: “Wil­liam is do­ing re­ally well. He is adapt­ing to the coun­try, adapt­ing to our club.

“We have to bear in mind that he had a re­ally chal­leng­ing sea­son last year with the amount of in­juries that he had.

“But he is a player that is go­ing to be im­por­tant in our fu­ture. Things some­times take some time and we have to re­spect that.”

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