By Harvey Byrne
Charlie Nicholas has claimed “Arsenal have got the strongest squad in the Premier League” as they head into Tuesday evening’s clash against Championship side Reading in the EFL Cup.
The former Arsenal man has predicted a comfortable 3-1 victory for the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium, with Nicholas believing the squad players are ready to step into the side.
Reading are currently in eighth place in the Championship lead by former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, while Arsenal are joint top alongside Manchester City and Liverpool as they look to mount a title challenge.
With Arsenal widely expected to win against their second tier opponents, their ex-forward and now Sky Sports pundit Nicholas has also backed them ahead of the encounter.
“Arsenal have got the strongest squad in Premier League,” Nicholas wrote in his Sky Sports column. “The sort of players who come in here are experienced and should be ready to step up for the first team and seize on a disappointing result at the weekend.
“Olivier Giroud will probably get a run out and you’ve also got Lucas Perez, Kieran Gibbs, David Ospina, Rob Holding and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is looking more influential.
“There’s a few I’d like to see get a chance. One is the boy Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who I’ve only seen glimpses of but looks like he could be the next Alex Iwobi, and Mohamed Elneny is another one.
“Reading are still learning under Jaap Stam and I see no excuses for the Gunners, who will still have plenty of experience, so I’m expecting those who disappointed at the weekend to be pushed for their places in a comfortable win.”
Arsenal will be looking to recover from being held against Middlesbrough in a 0-0 stalemate in their previous fixture.
Manager Arsene Wenger will be looking at the clash against the Royals as the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways, while also blooding some of his fringe players and allowing striker Olivier Giroud to return to fitness.
The 30-year-old France international has recently returned from injury and he will be keen to impress having remained goalless in each of his four appearances for the club this season.
In other Arsenal news, Reading winger Garath McCleary is relishing the opportunity to take on his childhood club.