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Arsenal starlet Charlie Patino makes debut against AFC Wimbledon as Gunners try to maintain momentum

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Omentum hasn’t been easy for Arsenal lately and with a north London derby looming, Mikel Arteta knows he doesn’t dare give up what little his team have managed to tinker with as the AFC Wimbledon travels to the Emirates for the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night. .

The back-to-back 1-0 victories over Norwich and Burnley haven’t exactly pulled the Gunners off the brink of disaster they seem to be perpetually teetering on, but they have created a fragile belief that progress is possible and that things might not be. not quite as bad as they seemed when the campaign started with three straight league losses.

Sunday’s clash with Tottenham – whose season so far has followed a similar but backwards trajectory – will be the real test of whether this hopeful theory is an illusion or some credibility.

But Arteta knows the importance of packing League One’s outfit convincingly tonight, and not just because the competition represents one of only two realistic hits to the silverware for the club this season.

“After the tough start that we had in so many ways, when you start winning two games you can win the third,” said the Spaniard. “You get more momentum, more confidence, everyone’s back, and then you start to make a different feeling.”

The return of key players from injuries and illnesses, especially in defense, has been an integral part of these successive wins and clean sheets, but without the Europa League group stage, tonight’s clash offers Arteta a rare chance to spin wholesale and to Charlie, 17. Patino is among those hoping to appear after training with the first team on Tuesday.

Arteta added: “If someone wants to play and is looking for an opportunity, it’s good that you do the right things in training and your behavior is good, but it’s also a chance to show us that you deserve to play and do it’s tough for us in team selection so here we are.

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