Charlie Patino and the three Arsenal wonderkids in contention to play against Sunderland

Arteta reflects on two years since becoming Arsenal boss

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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal will have a break from the Premier League on Tuesday when they play host to Sunderland in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup. It’ll be a good opportunity for Arsenal to get themselves into a semi-final and bring themselves one step closer to some silverware this season.

Arteta is expected to shuffle his pack, meaning several fringe players will be given the chance to impress the Spaniard.

But according to Football London, several wonderkids are also in contention to face Sunderland at the Emirates after training with the first-team ahead of the clash.

Here, Express Sport takes a look at those four wonderkids who could feature on Tuesday after training on Monday.

Charlie Patino

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The highly-rated 18-year-old could be in line to make his senior debut for Arsenal in the contest.

While it’s unclear whether Patino will be handed a start, the midfielder could be one of the beneficiaries of the five-substitution rule introduced by the EFL earlier this season.

Patino was almost given some first-team minutes by Arteta in the third round against AFC Wimbledon in September, but the Arsenal boss changed his mind in order to give Thomas Partey some extra game time after returning from injury.

“He was very close, but in the end we decided that some players needed some minutes,” Arteta said after the game. “It will happen naturally, in time.”


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The midfielder has already drawn comparisons with Jack Wilshere and Phil Foden and it looks as if he has a bright future ahead of him.

Folarin Balogun

After starting in Arsenal’s season opener against Brentford, Balogun has rarely featured for the first-team since.

In fact, Balogun has played for a combined total of just 18 minutes since then – against Chelsea in the league and Wimbledon in the EFL Cup.

Balogun has been tipped to depart the club on loan in January, but may be given a further chance to impress on Tuesday.

Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand

The 18-year-old is yet to make his first-team debut for the Gunners, but could be in line for at least a place on the bench.

The midfielder spent much of the previous campaign out with a stress fracture near his ankle but has been in fine form this campaign for the under-23s.

He notched his first professional goal against Newport in the EFL Trophy in style courtesy of a wonderful free-kick in the 4-3 win.

The central midfielder spent the majority of his youth career playing in the Netherlands with Feyenoord but joined Arsenal as a free agent in August 2020.

Omar Rekik

The Tunisia international joined Arsenal in January 2020 from German side Hertha Berlin, but his development was halted by two muscle tears.

The Athletic claims the youngster could be sent out on loan in January to gain more first-team experience, however could be named amongst the substitutes on Tuesday.

The highly-rated 20-year-old has been a key player for the club’s Under-23s this season, where he has made 15 appearances.

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