Chelsea scraped past Brentford 2-0 in the EFL Cup quarter-finals after Pontus Jansson scored an own goal and Jorginho converted a penalty in the final 10 minutes. 

Just as they did in the Premier League meeting between these sides back in October, Chelsea dominated possession but struggled to create any decent openings. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga did well to keep out Yoane Wissa and Mathias Jensen in the first half, with Thomas Tuchel forced to call upon senior players as he chased the game in the second period. 

The game looked destined for penalties until Jansson put through his own net in the 80th minute and Jorginho put the result beyond doubt when he slotted home a spot-kick. 

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is worried that "nobody really takes player welfare seriously" as Premier League clubs prepare for a packed fixture schedule.

Jurgen Klopp's side drew 2-2 with Tottenham last Sunday as part of a run of five matches in just two weeks in all competitions.

While a busy period in December is nothing new for teams in England's top flight, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic – particularly amid the spike in cases driven by the Omicron variant – has complicated matters.

All but four of last weekend's Premier League games were postponed due to cases of COVID-19 among players and staff, while Liverpool were without Virgil van Dijk, Curtis Jones, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara against Spurs after positive tests.

The Reds will almost certainly rotate their side for Wednesday's EFL Cup game against Leicester City, with their next league game at home to Leeds United only four days away. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has already confirmed he will look to use Under-23 players in their clash with Brentford due to absences caused by injury and coronavirus.

Despite the problems, clubs chose to go ahead with the festive schedule at a meeting on Monday, and Henderson believes players are going to suffer if their concerns about fixture pile-ups are not taken into account.

"I don't think people can appreciate how intense it is until you actually see it first hand," he told BBC Sport.

"Football to us is everything, and we want to be able to perform at the highest level every time we set foot on the pitch. And unfortunately, in this period it is difficult to do that.

"That has been like this for a few years now, and it has been difficult but then, on top of that, you chuck in Covid and it becomes even harder and even worse.

"I am concerned that nobody really takes player welfare seriously.

"I think decisions get made – of course we want to play as footballers, we want to get out there and play – but I am worried about player welfare and I don't think anybody does take that seriously enough, especially in this period, when Covid is here.

"We will try to have conversations in the background and try to have some sort of influence going forward, but at the minute I don't feel the players get the respect they deserve in terms of having somebody being able to speak for them independently and having the power to say actually this isn't right for player welfare.

"I know people will say we do get paid a lot of money to go out and play football. I get that and understand that, but football is everything to us. And especially those players that are playing international games and European games, you get a maximum of probably two or three weeks off a year. I am not sure that is enough to physically recover and mentally recover from the season previous.

"But again, there is no communication with players in terms of what they think, which is a big problem really, I am not saying they have to make decisions on what players think, because everybody will have a different opinion, but I think they need to be part of a conversation because, ultimately, we are the ones that are going out and feeling it and playing it."

Henderson missed out on Sunday after falling ill with a cold, though Klopp confirmed the England international had tested negative for coronavirus.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists he wants Tuesday's EFL Cup hat-trick hero Eddie Nketiah to stay with the club amid his contract stand-off.

Nketiah is believed to be frustrated by a lack of opportunities at Arsenal, with Tuesday's cup quarter-final appearance in Arsenal's 5-1 win over Sunderland marking only his sixth this season in all competitions.

The 22-year-old's current deal expires at the end of this season and he may leave on a free transfer after turning down a new contract offer earlier this month.

"I tell you every day that we want to keep Eddie," Arteta said at the post-game news conference. "We see how he trains, that’s what he does every day, he works so hard and puts the ball in the net every session.

"I am really delighted with him. Every time we have needed him he has always responded."

He added: "We are trying [to re-sign him]. It’s not about anything else but minutes. He wants gametime, he wants to be on that field and that is the only reason to say, 'Can I do it here?' That’s the question. We all want him to stay."

Arteta has only used Nketiah three times in the Premier League this season, off the bench on all three occasions.

"The way we planned the squad and the way his situation looked in the window, he had a lot of options to go and we thought that was probably the best way to go," Arteta added.

"But the way we assembled the squad the situation changed and he decided to stay and it was hard to found minutes for him. But he’s finding the space right now and is using his minutes really well."

The Gunners boss admitted Nketiah's treble on Tuesday would boost his case for more minutes in the league.

"Recently he’s played more minutes than in the past and we’re going to need him and he’s going to play more minutes," the Spaniard said.

Arteta also labelled Charlie Patino's debut goal as a "beautiful moment" and heaped praise on Nicolas Pepe after a bright display against the Black Cats, having only been used 11 times this season.

Pepe scored Arsenal's second goal and set up their last two, including producing some wizardry down the right flank to tee up Nketiah's classy backheel finish.

"It is hard for everyone who doesn’t play," Arteta said about Pepe. "What they have to do is when they have the minutes, show on the pitch that they can do it and they are ready when the team needs him."

Hat-trick hero Eddie Nketiah saluted his team-mates after his maiden Arsenal treble in their thumping EFL Cup quarter-final win over Sunderland. 

The young striker was on target three times as the Gunners advanced to the semi-finals of the competition following a commanding 5-1 victory at Emirates Stadium.

Nketiah produced a trio of poacher's finishes; netting the rebound from Rob Holding's first-half header, before turning home inviting crosses by Nuno Tavares and Nicolas Pepe after the break.

The 22-year-old continued his love affair with the EFL Cup, having taken his career tally to 10 goals from nine appearances – and seven in five on home soil.

And he is hopeful his exploits in this competition will eventually culminate in regular Premier League opportunities.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a great feeling. I just want to say a big thank you to my team-mates. 

"I had some really good assists today; I just had to be in the right place. 

"It's great to get my first hat-trick for Arsenal in the senior team.

"This is the competition where I've been getting starts and opportunities to play. 

"Whenever I'm asked to play, I'm going to do my best to help the team. I'm ready if the manager needs me.

"I'm desperate to play football. All I can do is keep working hard and hopefully, I'll get opportunities."

Nketiah paid tribute to fellow youngster Charlie Patino, who was also on target for the hosts.

The 18-year-old substitute marked his senior debut by finding the net with a neat finish to complete the scoring.

"It's amazing for him. He's a great lad with a great future ahead of him," Nketiah added.

"I was delighted for him to get on the scoresheet. 

"These games provide a great opportunity to get your debut and impress, and I think he did that today."

Eddie Nketiah was the hat-trick hero as Arsenal marched through to the EFL Cup semi-finals after a comprehensive 5-1 win over Sunderland.

The young striker continued his impressive record in the competition, with a trio of poacher's finishes taking his tally to 10 goals in nine appearances.

Nicolas Pepe was also on target in the 27th minute for Mikel Arteta's side, who secured their first appearance in the last four since 2017-18, with the win capped off by teenager Charlie Patino.

The Gunners did concede their first goal of this season's EFL Cup courtesy of a neat Nathan Broadhead finish, but it proved a mere consolation for the League One outfit.

With 43 places separating the sides in the English football pyramid, Arsenal nearly broke the deadlock in the 12th minute; Nuno Tavares' attempted centre deflecting onto the crossbar off Elliot Embleton.

But the hosts took the lead five minutes later. Lee Burge could only parry Rob Holding's header from a Cedric corner, and Nketiah was on hand to scramble home the rebound.

Folarin Balogun went close before the Gunners doubled their advantage; Pepe playing a neat one-two with Cedric and his shot deflected in off Callum Doyle.

Sunderland responded well and halved the deficit following a quick counter that culminated in Embleton releasing the in-form Broadhead, who neatly lifted over the advancing Bernd Leno for his fifth goal in four games.

However, Arsenal restored their two-goal buffer within four minutes of the restart, Nketiah producing tremendous movement to turn home Tavares' cross at the near post.

And the striker completed his hat-trick in exquisite fashion nine minutes later, as he delightfully back-heeled Pepe's centre past a helpless Burge.

Patino put the icing on the cake in stoppage time when the youngster marked his senior debut with a neat first-time finish from Pepe's centre.

Thomas Tuchel accepts the decision for the Premier League season to continue over the festive period and says Chelsea are up for the challenge of competing on multiple fronts.

The Blues had a late request to call off Sunday's league clash with Wolves rejected amid a spate of absentees due to coronavirus and injuries.

Chelsea had just four outfield players on the bench at Molineux for the goalless draw as they dropped points for the third time in four top-flight outings.

That was just one of four Premier League games to go ahead at the weekend, with six others postponed as clubs continue to be hit by COVID-19 cases within their squads.

Tuchel accused league officials of putting the welfare of players at risk by making the game go ahead during the busiest period of the season for teams.

But despite concerns also being raised by other high-profile figures, a decision was reached on Monday for the schedule to continue as planned over Christmas and into the new year.

Prior to taking on Aston Villa, Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool in the next 12 days, Chelsea first have an EFL Cup quarter-final with Brentford to prepare for on Wednesday.

And despite still being without a number of first-team players, Tuchel understands the difficult position clubs and organisers are in to ensure games go ahead.

"I understand it is not easy to postpone games but for isolated situations like ours [against Wolves], we thought we had a strong case," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. 

"I shared my thoughts with everybody, and we accept the situation. We accepted the challenge, and we will accept the next challenge.

"I don't know if stopping the season would help and I don't want to give the impression I have the solution. It was my thought particularly for the last two days around the Wolves game and coming into it. That was my concern."

Tuchel added: "I would not say I'm disappointed at the decision. I think it would have been too easy. I don't have a solution for the schedule. I don't know, it might have just delayed the problem. 

"There are clubs who suffer a lot. We suffer very much at the moment so maybe it would be better to have a short break, but I do not have a solution or a clear opinion of what we can do for everybody."

Tuchel confirmed that N'Golo Kante will not be part of the matchday squad to face Brentford, while Trevoh Chalobah and Andreas Christensen are fitness doubts.

Those to have tested positive for coronavirus last week will also remain out, with the exception of midfielder Jorginho, whose test was a false positive.

A number of Under-23s players have trained with the depleted first team ahead of the trip to Brentford in what will be the first EFL Cup tie between the London clubs.

Asked if it is frustrating Chelsea cannot field their strongest line-up on Wednesday, Tuchel said: "Yes, because we are so competitive. That's why we work here, that's what made them Chelsea players. 

"I absolutely don't like judging the importance of games because you can never tell what that can do to you. There is nothing more important than winning and fighting the fights together.

"It is nothing new to play three matches in a week but without nine or 10 players, it is challenging. So, we struggle a little bit, but we find solutions."

Chelsea have progressed from their past three EFL Cup quarter-final ties, doing so in 2014-15, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The Blues have also won six of their past seven meetings with Brentford in all competitions, including a 1-0 league victory at the Brentford Community Stadium this season.

Jurgen Klopp's assistant Pep Lijnders believes it is "absurd" to force Premier League teams to play two games in the space of 48 hours amid rising coronavirus cases.

The Premier League clubs convened on Monday to determine whether fixtures on December 28, 29 and 30 should be pushed back.

Their meeting followed a raft of postponements across recent matchdays, with Liverpool's enthralling 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday one of only four top-flight matches to go ahead last weekend as clubs were hit by coronavirus cases within their squads.

However, a decision was reached to play the games over the busy festive period, despite concerns from a number of clubs, including Liverpool.

The Reds face Leicester City – who have had their past two league matches postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak – in an EFL Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, before they take on Leeds United at Anfield in an early kick-off on Boxing Day.

Liverpool then travel to Leicester for a league meeting with Brendan Rodgers' side on Tuesday.

Asked about the decision in a news conference on Tuesday, Lijnders said: "Jurgen made this point really clear. We really think we have to protect our players.

"We think it’s absurd that we have to play inside 48 hours because there's a much higher risk of injury and the quality will not be as good. The moment we lose players, we have to push players through, the risk becomes bigger.

"The teams who want to play, you have to ask them in these circumstances, but I think it would be a wise decision, especially with the COVID cases here being this fresh.

"We always make recommendations. Each year, we speak with the Premier League, FA, the refs and we give our honest opinion to improve the quality of the game. That's what we did in this meeting.

"We love to work in England. The Premier League, the intensity, the quality, we love it, but we all have to respect recovery. If you want a quality game, it's important that the players don't accumulate fatigue because if our players are more fatigued, they are not as brave, not as creative, not as spontaneous."

Lijnders also believes the Premier League should be consulting with scientists over the possibility of pausing the competition as cases in the United Kingdom surge upwards.

"For me, the experts are not the managers. The experts are the scientists and doctors, and they should be asked by the Premier League," he said.

"They should ask them, not the CEOs or managers. Health always comes at position number one. The people going to hospital now, they only want one thing: to get better.

"In life you always want a lot of things but when you're sick you only want one thing and that's getting better. We are in this job to protect all players, all staff, all their family members."

Lijnders also confirmed Virgil van Dijk, Curtis Jones, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara were all still out following positive COVID-19 tests.

"We will not rush them back; we are going to take our time. This virus is really unpredictable. We have to see if they get sick," he said.

Jurgen Klopp said it will be impossible for Liverpool to complete their entire festive programme after the "proper punch" that coronavirus has given professional football.

Thiago Alcantara missed Liverpool's 2-2 Premier League draw with Tottenham on Sunday due to a suspected positive coronavirus test result, as Klopp was left without a raft of key players.

Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Virgil van Dijk were also sidelined after returning suspected positive results ahead of the midweek win over Newcastle United, and captain Jordan Henderson was another absentee due to illness at Tottenham, though he has tested negative for COVID-19.

Tyler Morton was handed a first Premier League start in midfield for the Spurs game, and he featured alongside James Milner and Naby Keita.

Liverpool's game was one of only four Premier League fixtures allowed to go ahead this weekend, with the other six matches postponed due to coronavirus cases among teams involved.

Indeed, Spurs were back in action for the first time since beating Norwich City on December 5, after a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp.

Liverpool face an EFL Cup quarter-final against Leicester City on Wednesday, before Premier League clashes against Leeds United and the Foxes on December 26 and 28 respectively.

Klopp, though, wants the authorities to intervene and consider postponing – or even cancelling – some games.

"We play now on Wednesday, Sunday and Tuesday," he told Sky Sports. "That is impossible. We do not have the players.

"We could maybe have another case or two. We have to think about it, we cannot just push it all through.

"First of all, take away the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final. Just play once; wherever you play it, I don't care.

"December 26 and 28 is really not possible. We might wake up tomorrow morning and might not be able to play anyway [due to more cases]. We would prefer to play, but we need some help. If we carry on, we cannot carry on as normal."

A meeting is due to take place on Monday involving Premier League clubs, as the situation intensifies and virus cases continue to emerge.

"The big thing we all have to talk about is: can we carry on? Do we carry on as usual? We need to have help from the schedule," Klopp said.

"If we don't play any more and have a break I am fine. But I know the problem. When do you want to play the games? It is not that easy to fit them in.

"We said before coronavirus that it was a bit busy, but people could not get enough football. Now it gives us a proper punch and tells you that you cannot carry on like this, and we have to consider what we do."

West Ham have been handed an EFL Cup quarter-final trip to Tottenham after dumping long-time holders Manchester City out of the competition.

David Moyes' men beat City on penalties on Wednesday to ensure the Premier League champions will not win the trophy for a fifth year in a row, and now a London derby awaits them for a place in the last four. Tottenham reached this stage by eliminating Burnley.

Three of the four ties will be played in the capital, with Arsenal drawn to face League One outfit Sunderland, the only EFL team left in the competition, and Brentford given a home game against Chelsea.

Sunderland knocked out QPR in a penalty shoot-out to reach the last eight, while Arsenal saw off Leeds United. Brentford were victorious at Stoke City, and Chelsea edged past Southampton on spot-kicks.

Liverpool's 2-0 win at Preston North End sets up Jurgen Klopp's team for a shot at Leicester City, with the Reds drawn at home for the tussle with Brendan Rodgers' team.

All ties are due to be played in the week commencing December 20.

Liverpool are looking to win the competition for a fourth time in the 21st century, and for a record ninth time in all. The Reds and Manchester City currently have the most titles in this competition, with eight apiece.

Leicester have won the EFL Cup on three previous occasions, most recently in 2000 when they beat another Merseyside club, Tranmere Rovers, in the last EFL Cup final to be played at the old Wembley Stadium, prior to its demolition.


EFL Cup quarter-final draw:

Tottenham v West Ham

Arsenal v Sunderland

Brentford v Chelsea

Liverpool v Leicester City

Nuno Espirito Santo hailed the unity demonstrated by Tottenham in their 1-0 EFL Cup fourth-round win over Burnley. 

Lucas Moura's 68th-minute header proved the difference at Turf Moor as Spurs progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition for the third time in four seasons. 

The visitors were made to dig deep as Burnley pushed for an equaliser late on, but they held out for victory and a first clean sheet in 11 matches in all competitions. 

Nuno felt his players deserved credit for their application as they responded to Sunday's Premier League defeat at West Ham. 

"We did a good job controlling the way they play," he said. "We were much better in the second half in terms of mobility and dynamic.  

"The end of the match is about defending, sticking together. It's good for the team.  

"We know that games require suffering and require unity, so we must congratulate the players because they did a good job." 

One sour note saw Tottenham lose Bryan Gil to injury after just 25 minutes of the tie, with Nuno revealing they are still awaiting a full assessment of the damage. 

Last season, Spurs were runners-up to Manchester City, whose quest for a fifth straight EFL Cup triumph was ended by a penalty shoot-out defeat at West Ham on Wednesday. 

Nevertheless, Nuno was quick to play down his side's chances of going the extra step this year after booking their place alongside the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester City in the quarter-final draw. 

"We cannot look much further," he added. "We came here to go through; we did it in a good way and with a good game.  

"Let's see the draw and wait for the next one. 

"There are still a lot of teams. Every team involved in the competition is an option, so let’s focus on ourselves." 

Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi continued their EFL Cup love affairs as Liverpool edged past Preston North End 2-0 at Deepdale on Wednesday. 

Japan international Minamino made it five goals in four EFL Cup appearances before Origi scored for the 11th time in his 10th start in the competition with an impressively improvised backheel volley. 

Having been fortunate not to go behind in the first half when Sean Maguire, Ryan Ledson and Brad Potts failed to take their chances, Minamino made the breakthrough for Liverpool in the 62nd minute. 

The Premier League giants dominated possession throughout and were sure of a place in the quarter-finals for just the second time in five seasons after Origi somehow flicked the ball home with six minutes remaining. 

Preston initially looked more dangerous despite seeing less of the ball and ought to have taken the lead in the 28th minute when they had three chances in rapid succession. 

Adrian did brilliantly to deny Maguire from six yards after Joe Gomez was dispossessed, and Neco Williams' goal-line clearance kept Ledson out on the follow-up. The rebound fell to Potts, but he sliced his attempt high and wide.  

After wasting a chance at the start of the second half, there was no mistake from Minamino with his next opportunity as he stabbed in a cutback from Williams after a brilliant pass from Tyler Morton released the right-back.  

Kostas Tsimikas then rattled the crossbar with a deep cross and the ball fell to Williams, whose blocked shot sat up nicely for Origi to steer in a spectacular late second. 
 

What does it mean? Differing displays for full debutants  

Klopp handed a first senior appearance to Harvey Blair and a full debut to Morton as he made 11 changes from the 5-0 mauling of Manchester United in the Premier League at the weekend.  

Blair was extremely quiet in the front three, getting just nine touches of the ball before making way for Conor Bradley in the 55th minute.  

Morton, meanwhile, looked at home in the centre of midfield, spraying some lovely passes around – one of which was key to Minamino's goal. 

Wonderful Williams 

Making his first start since March having struggled with an ankle injury, Williams proved a difference-maker for the Reds. He made a crucial goal-line block in the first half and played a pivotal role in both Liverpool goals, though he was unable to take a late chance to get on the scoresheet himself. 

Mixed bag for Van den Berg 

Sepp van den Berg may be on loan at Preston from Liverpool, but he started in defence for the hosts and had a mixed outing. He gained possession 10 times, made four interceptions and two blocks – all of which were the most by a Preston player – but no other outfield team-mate gave the ball away more than him (13). 

What's next?  

Liverpool host Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, with Preston entertaining Luton Town in the Championship on the same day. 

Ben White limped off the field shortly after half-time of Arsenal's 2-0 EFL Cup victory over Leeds United, but it was illness rather than injury that forced his early departure. 

Mikel Arteta said the only reason the centre-back started Tuesday was because a bug circulating through the Arsenal dressing room left Pablo Mari unable to go. 

The same issue compelled the manager to remove White in the 55th minute, but Arteta said White should be fit for Saturday's Premier League fixture against Leicester City. 

"[Mari] was going to start and he couldn’t – he had a bug, something happened around here," Arteta told Sky Sports. "White wasn’t feeling great in the second half so we decided to take him off

Arteta added that White had been dealing with the same illness the previous few days but did what he could. 

White's departure proved fortuitous for Arsenal, as Calum Chambers came on to replace him and headed home the first goal of the game within seconds. 

Asked if he had ever had a substitute pay off that quickly, Arteta said "I don't think so." 

"I’m so happy in particular for Calum," he added. "He totally deserved it. It was a great moment because it helped us to win the game. He’s someone who deserves the best for who he is as a person and how he behaves as a professional."

 

Thomas Tuchel was delighted with the all-round display of Saul Niguez as the Chelsea midfielder impressed in Tuesday's EFL Cup tie with Southampton.

Chelsea required a penalty shoot-out for the second round running in the competition, as Reece James' cool spot-kick ultimately sealed the Blues' progression to the last eight.

James' penalty sealed a 4-3 shoot-out win after Theo Walcott and Will Smallbone failed to convert their efforts following a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The five-time champions have now won all three of their matches against Southampton in the competition. The last such meeting was back in 1997-98, with Chelsea going on to lift the trophy that season.

Saul had played only once – against Malmo in the Champions League last week – since featuring against Aston Villa in the previous round, yet the Atletico Madrid loanee, who was taken off at half-time in his sole Premier League appearance, completed the full game.

He went close to opening the scoring with an excellent header six minutes in, forcing Fraser Forster into a top-class save.

Having seen another header saved just before the hour, Saul then had two attempts from the edge of the area in quick succession, with a crisp strike flashing just wide before Forster again denied the Spain international, diving to his right to keep out a shot that was dipping in.

 

Saul finished on four efforts in total, with a joint game-high three on target, and along with midfield partner Mateo Kovacic, the 26-year-old went in for a game-leading six tackles, completing three, though he did concede four fouls.

It was a performance that left Tuchel highly impressed.

"[He had] a good match, a huge step in the right direction for him," Tuchel told reporters.

"I am happy. We thought maybe he would be struggling with the intensity at the 70th minute but he got better and better, had chances and shots.

"We thought let's keep him and give him the minutes. It was a good step for him."

Tuchel explained that Chelsea's options were limited after three players who could have started – Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen – were unable to train ahead of the match.

"Azpi injured his shoulder, let's see," Tuchel said. "We hope he will be fit, he is a tough guy. Maybe he will be fit Saturday [for the game against Newcastle United]. Ruben has a pain in his hip, in his joint. Andreas had tooth surgery and should be fine to train on Thursday."

Chelsea had 23 shots in total, with 14 on target – Forster pulling off 13 saves in total and only beaten by Kai Havertz's header. Southampton, who equalised through Che Adams, had plenty of chances themselves, however, with Kepa Arrizabalaga making six stops.

"It was an intense match of football, nice to watch for the spectators," Tuchel added. "It was an open fight, an intense match. We did a good shootout, a lot of quality. I liked the energy today, it was a good game."

Eddie Nketiah said he will continue to knuckle down at Arsenal to force his way into Mikel Arteta's Premier League plans.

The 22-year-old striker scored Arsenal's second in a 2-0 win over Leeds United in the EFL Cup fourth round on Tuesday, which took his tally to seven goals in eight appearances in the competition.

Nketiah, who had three shots with two on target in the match, has yet to feature in the league this season for the Gunners and is eager to press his claims with head coach Arteta.

"It is always nice to play, it’s obviously been a while," he told Sky Sports.

"I’ve been working hard, waiting for this opportunity. I was confident and ready and it’s always nice to score and help your team.

"We’re on a good run at the moment and it’s about continuing to work hard. We push each other every day in training and the results come in the match.

"I'm happy for the boys and it’s nice to get involved and contribute."

Nketiah said all of Arsenal's fringe players have to take their chance whenever they get them, especially given their recent upturn in form, which has seen them go eight games unbeaten in all competitions.

"That’s what we’re trying to do," Nketiah added.

"The manager picks the starting line-up but we have to work our hardest in training, and when we get the opportunities, we perform like we did today. I think everyone should be proud of themselves."

Arsenal's opening goal was scored by Calum Chambers who headed home just 24 seconds after he had come on as a substitute following an injury to Ben White.

The defender sprinted to celebrate with the Arsenal bench and one person in Arteta's backroom staff in particular after the ball was deemed to have crossed the line by goal-line technology.

"Our set piece coach Nico told me, 'you’re going to score from your first touch', so that’s why I went running over to him. It was a nice moment," Chambers said.

"I was pretty confident it went over, I saw the ball over the line so I was just waiting for the referee to give it. Luckily he did.

"It's always going to be tough against Leeds. They're a very unique team in the way that they play so you have to be on it, you have to be at it and we knew that going into the game. 

"We stood up to the test and came out with a win."

Chambers claimed Arsenal's players are determined to go as far as they can in the EFL Cup, which they last won in 1993, even though it is down the list of priorities for other clubs.

"Every competition is very important for Arsenal," he said, with the draw for the quarter-finals on Saturday.

"We want to be competing for silverware, so as I said it's good for players like us who want to prove a point and get back in the team and when we do, we need to take it. Every competition is important to us."

Chelsea needed a penalty shoot-out for the second round running as they progressed into the EFL Cup quarter-finals with a 4-3 win over Southampton after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Reece James scored the winning spot-kick against Aston Villa in round three, and it was the wing-back who netted the decider again on Tuesday.

Once more without the injured strike duo of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Chelsea went ahead through Kai Havertz, but Che Adams hit back early in the second half.

Kepa Arrizabalaga and Fraser Forster both then saved a penalty each in the shoot-out, yet it was ultimately Will Smallbone's miss that proved costly as the five-time winners progressed.

Chelsea had set the tone when Ross Barkley delivered a teasing corner from which Saul Niguez forced Forster into a fine stop in the sixth minute.

Havertz twice went close before he punctured Southampton's resolve on the cusp of half-time when a defensive lapse allowed the Germany international to head home Hakim Ziyech's corner.

That lead lasted only two minutes into the second half, however.

Malang Sarr's error was pounced upon by Kyle Walker-Peters, whose strike squirmed beyond Kepa and into the path of Adams for a tap-in.

Where Kepa failed at one end, Forster succeeded at the other, preventing Havertz from immediately restoring Chelsea's lead.

Both goalkeepers had to be at their best in stoppage time to force penalties, Kepa saving from Lyanco and Mohammed Salisu before Forster kept out Sarr's effort.

Then, Kepa tipped Theo Walcott's spot-kick onto the post before Forster denied Mason Mount to cancel out Chelsea's advantage, only for Smallbone to blaze his penalty over, leaving James to coolly settle matters again.

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