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Can Arsenal's fringe players create magic against the Royals?

Arsenal's Lucas Perez celebrates scoring their third goal with Chuba Akpom

Arsene Wenger is likely to rotate his squad heavily for the EFL clash with Reading - a fixture that ended 7-5 on a crazy night for both sides a few years ago.

Reading's Adrian Mariappa  (L) and Arsenal's Francis Coquelin in action

Arsenal take on Reading in the EFL Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday night, and will fancy their chances against Championship opposition. They are one of just two Premier League teams to have been drawn against lower league opposition, with Hull City facing Bristol City. 

However, the Gunners should learn their lesson from the last time they met Reading in the league cup, having gone 4-0 down before mounting an unbelievable comeback to win 7-5 in extra-time. 

Arsenal have won every one of the 13 games they've contested with the Royals, and despite drawing with Middlesbrough in the league, they are in good form, unbeaten in their last 12. 

Arsene Wenger is likely to rotate heavily however, and will bring in a raft of fringe players who will be hoping to recreate some of the magic that saw Arsenal put seven past the Royals in that famous victory (although the defenders will be hoping for a drastically different performance!)

Arsenal's Lucas Perez celebrates scoring their third goal with Chuba AkpomArsenal's Lucas Perez celebrates scoring their third goal with Chuba Akpom

David Ospina will come in for Petr Cech, as he has done in the cup competitions, while the back four is likely to be completely changed. Kieran Gibbs will likely start at left-back, and may be handed the captain's armband for the game. Back-up centre-back pairing Rob Holding and Gabriel Paulista is likely to feature as well, with a possible return to action for long-term absentee Carl Jenkinson, whose last Arsenal appearance came in 2014.

Central midfield may see some stability, with Granit Xhaka still suspended and Santi Cazorla's fitness in doubt, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny look set to keep their places. Aaron Ramsey isn't fit either, but could return to the squad against Sunderland.

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey in action with Reading's Garath McCleary

Ahead of them, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should start, having impressed and scored in the 6-0 rout of Ludogorets. Youngsters Chuba Akpom and Jeff Reine Adelaide were both bright in the last round against Nottingham Forest, and may well be given another opportunity.

Despite Olivier Giroud's recovery, Lucas Perez is almost certain to start. He scored twice in the win over Nottingham Forest and assisted Mesut Ozil well in the Ludogorets game after coming on as a substitute. The Frenchman will probably see some action off the bench.

The 7-5 thriller saw Theo Walcott net a hat-trick, and fringe player Marouane Chamakh score twice. Lucas Perez and co. will be hoping to make a similar impact, and give Arsene Wenger something to think about when he picks his team for the Premier League fixture against Sunderland.

For the Royals, captain Chris Gunter is suspended, so youngster Tennai Watson will most likely come in at right-back, while cup keeper Anssi Jaakkola will hope to retain his place over Ali Al Habsi, having started all three of the club's previous EFL Cup fixtures this season.

Reading manager Jaap Stam

Manager Jaap Stam is unlikely to rotate as heavily as he might normally, however, and may keep faith with many of the players who started in the 1-0 win over Rotherham at the weekend.

Arsenal Predicted Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Gibbs, Holding, Gabriel, Jenkinson; Coquelin, Elneny; Akpom, Reine-Adelaide, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Perez

Reading Predicted Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jaakkola; Obita, van den Berg, Moore, Watson; Williams, McShane; Beerens, Swift, McCleary; Kermorgant

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