Arsene Wenger has confirmed Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey will remain on the sidelines when Arsenal host Reading on Tuesday night (25 October). However, Olivier Giroud and Carl Jenkinson could make their long-awaited comebacks in the EFL Cup Fourth Round clash with the Championship side, as the boss is expected to make wholesale changes to his line-up.
Cazorla missed the Premier League goalless draw with Middlesbrough over the weekend after suffering an Achilles tendon injury during the Champions League victory over Ludogorets. Wenger has since refused to set a deadline for the player's recovery, but has confirmed the EFL Cup game against Reading will come too early for the Spaniard.
"Cazorla will not be available," Wenger said to Arsenal's official website before adding he has no fresh injuries from the team who played against Middlesbrough. "But it looked after the game that, apart from some tired legs and disappointed minds, we had nothing else to declare."
Ramsey is also set to miss the EFL Cup encounter as the Welshman is suffering from a lack of match fitness, having been out of action since incurring a hamstring injury during opening day defeat to Liverpool. However, the Arsenal boss expects to have Giroud available, even though the French striker is yet to start a game this term.
"I think Olivier will be included, but for Aaron it is too early – although he is back in full training now," the boss confirmed.
Jenkinson may also have a chance to play against Reading as Wenger confirmed he plans to make significant changes in his line-up, as he did in the previous EFL Cup game against Nottingham Forest. The right-back is yet to play for the first team since the cruciate ligament injury he suffered in January 2016 while on loan at West Ham United. However, he has already played for the Under-23 side and can start on Tuesday to give a deserved rest to Hector Bellerin at right-back.
"It will be a similar squad to against Nottingham Forest. We will have Gabriel, Holding, Jenkinson will be back and will play," the Arsenal boss said. "Jeff Reine-Adelaide will play, otherwise I think Iwobi, Lucas, Oxlade-Chamberlain will also play. Gibbs – who captained the team at Forest – will do it again on Tuesday."