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CARABAO CUP: Five Arsenal players are likely to step to the spot if the Leeds United tie goes to penalties



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The Gunners have been involved in a Carabao Cup penalty shootout at the fourth round stage in two seasons, if history repeats itself on Tuesday who will bell the cat?

Arsenal ( as history speculates) may require a penalty shootout to get ahead of Leeds United in the Carabao Cup action on Tuesday night.

The round four prior draws have been tough for the Gunners, particularly after being paired with lower league opponents in West Bromwich and AFC Wimbledon in rounds two and three respectively.

So facing a fellow Premier League side should result in a clash of titans and increase the likelihood of a penalty shootout if the scores are level at the Emirates Stadium after 90 minutes.

Arsenal are no aliens to this system having been involved in six League Cup shootouts throughout the history of the competition – including each of the last two seasons at this very stage against Liverpool.

Meanwhile their spot-kick record from over the past two seasons – and the early stages of the current one – is quite remarkable as it should give Mikel Arteta some assurance if he needs to name five takers against Leeds.

Since the 2019/20 season, Arsenal have been given 16 penalties across all competitions and have missed just two of them which gives them a success percentage of 87.5%.

Those statistics verify that Arsenal have a squad of players who are comfortable from 12 yards and can handle the pressure of a penalty shootout.

So if Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup standoff against Leeds goes to penalties, who should be the five that step up for the Gunners given their previous records?

Alexandre Lacazette

Alex Lacazette Arsenal Player

Arsenal Lacazette Celebrating his first Premier League goal of the season in the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Monday

This is an easy choice. The French talisman may not have substantiated to be the signing to take Arsenal closer to a Premier League title challenge, but he’s one of the most credible penalty takers around.

During his time in north London, Lacazette has a perfect record of 9 penalties. This includes strikes in massive London derbies against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

If the Leeds match does go to penalties, then it’s guaranteed that the 30-year-old, if he’s still on the pitch, will be the first Arsenal player to step up.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal's Aubameyang

Arsenal Captain Aubameyang celebrating the Gunnees only Goal in the 1-0 win over Norwish City on Saturday

Now, there’s every likelihood that the Arsenal skipper won’t even start or feature against Leeds United after being replaced late on in the win over Aston Villa on Friday night as he was suffering from a cramp.

But if Arteta pops up a surprise and names Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench, then it’s safe to say that to win the cup tie has to be decided by penalties.

The 32-year-old is seen as the Gunners’ first-choice penalty taker, However, on numerous occasions, he has allowed a teammate to take the spot-kick – despite once being on a hat-trick against Stoke City.

Aubameyang’s record from the spot is not as remarkable as Lacazette. His miss against Villa was the third time he has missed one in Arsenal colors since joining in January 2018.

However, he has converted the other 11 (including shootouts) successfully and scored against Leeds in the Premier League tie between the two sides last season which may give him the advantage.

If Aubameyang is fielded against Leeds and the game goes into penalties, he will almost inevitably step up. Although he may not be first up.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is nowhere near close to being on penalty duty for Arsenal and has never taken one outside of a shootout during his career so far.

But it’s his excellent record in those shootouts that make him a top prospect to take one of the first five spot-kicks.

His long run-up is often in jog mode and is followed up by a cool finish. He took two penalties against Liverpool last season in the Community Shield and Carabao Cup, and in both circumstances had a smile on his face as he headed back to the center circle.

Furthermore, he once dinked a penalty down the middle in a pre-season shootout against Atletico Madrid, proving that he is ice cold in this type of circumstance.

Maitland-Niles is a penalty taker that Arteta can trust in a shootout.

The academy alumni have never taken a penalty for Arsenal at the senior level. Eddie Nketiah has scored two but has also missed four at youth level which may explain why he’s not a regular.

Although his record at the international level improves his record as for England Under-19’s and Under-21’s, Nketiah has scored four from six attempts.

This record may not be fresh in the hearts of  many Arsenal fans if they see Nketiah walking up to the penalty spot if the Leeds game goes all the way.

But having taken 12 of them throughout his career so far, it’s almost inevitable that the 22-year-old won’t say no if asked to take one against his former club.

 Cedric Soares also scored in both shootout wins over Liverpool last season, Mohamed Elneny has a 100% record from the spot (excluding shootouts) and one would anticipate that Gabriel Martinelli would step up.

Folarin Balogun has been a traditional penalty taker for the Under-23’s over the past two years, although he has lost a couple already this season.

Martin Odegaard showed his set-piece specialty with a stunning free-kick against Burnley last month and as a clean striker of the ball, should be confident from 12 yards.

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