Arsenal face Brentford in their Carabao Cup third-round tie at the Emirates on Wednesday with Unai Emery expected to ring in the changes.
Arsenal will kick off their participation in the Carabao Cup when they play hosts to Brentford for the third round tie at the Emirates on Wednesday night. And, Unai Emery could use the game as an opportunity to blood in youngsters while also giving a chance to fringe players, just like his predecessor Arsene Wenger did in cup games.
The likes of Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe are likely to get a run on Wednesday, while fringe stars like Danny Welbeck, Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding could start against Brentford as well. Holding was the name Emery mentioned during his pre-match press conference, which more or less confirmed the former Bolton defender’s participation against Brentford.
“[Brentford] is also a good opportunity for Holding to continue taking confidence, taking minutes and also taking our ideas of playing and I want to look at him also with our best performance, staying in the first XI.”
But with many different players to accommodate for this Carabao Cup clash, Emery is expected to slightly tweak his formation, one that would suit most players and also give Arsenal a new dimension.
Emiliano Martinez could get the nod between the sticks ahead of Bernd Leno, with Leno likely to get the nod in Europa League and FA Cup. Stephan Lichtsteiner should come back in place of Hector Bellerin on the right side of the Arsenal defence. On the opposite flank, Emery has little choice but to continue with Nacho Monreal.
The heart of the Arsenal defence is one problem area Emery must address and manage carefully, Konstantinos Mavropanos would have ideally started on Wednesday. But, the Greek defender has a groin injury that will rule him out for at least another four weeks.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos sustained an injury last weekend and remains unavailable, which leaves Emery with Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi as his two fit centre-backs, both of whom are likely to play against Brentford.
Matteo Guendouzi, who was completely rested for the Everton clash, should start, and he will likely be partnered by Mohamed Elneny and Joe Willock in the midfield trio. Upfront too, Henrikh Mkhitaryan might only be on the bench, despite returning to training following recovery from his ankle injury.
Danny Welbeck is set to be handed yet another start after playing the whole 90 minutes against Vorskla Poltava last week. The Englishman should be partnered by young star, Emile Smith Rowe in the two-man attacking midfield unit for Arsenal, with Eddie Nketiah being the central striker.