Unai Emery is set to ring in the changes as Arsenal prepare to face Blackpool in the Carabao Cup fourth round at the Emirates on Wednesday.
A place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals will be on the line when Arsenal play hosts to Blackpool in a fourth round tie at the Emirates on Wednesday night. The game against the League One strugglers ought to provide Unai Emery a chance to rotate his squad and rest some key men.
In addition to giving some of his regulars a night off ahead of the crucial Premier League clash against Liverpool this weekend, the match will also enable the Arsenal boss to give a few fringe players a rare outing with the first-team. And, Emery confirmed the same during his pre-match briefing.
“When they deserve it, it’s up to us to give them chances in the matches. Progressively, they can take confidence from being able to find their performance with their quality and with confidence. We will choose 18 players for the Blackpool match, the young players also. We are going to have a mix in order to get the best performance against Blackpool, to respect them.”
One player who is certain to start though, is Petr Cech, with Emery confirming that the veteran goalkeeper will be deployed between the sticks against Blackpool on Wednesday.
“In each moment for each match, we are going to give the goalkeepers the opportunity to help us. We are looking for the confidence in each goalkeeper. But now at the moment, Petr Cech will start the Blackpool match, after coming back from his injury.”
The backline provides a cause for concern, with as many as five defenders – Konstantinos Mavropanos, Laurent Koscielny, Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac – unavailable for Wednesday’s tie. The full-back slots in particular are in crisis mode, with Stephan Lichtsteiner the only fit player for those places.
The former Swiss international should start as the right-back, with the fit-again Ainsley Maitland-Niles likely to be deployed on the opposite flank. At the heart of the Arsenal defence Rob Holding and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are likely to be the preferred pairing, with Shkodran Mustafi being rested.
Julio Pleguezuelo and Zech Medley should be a part of the matchday squad, and could come on later on in the game if Emery was to give either Sokratis or Holding an early night off. In midfield, Mohamed Elneny is a major absentee, meaning Matteo Guendouzi will likely be accompanied by Aaron Ramsey in the midfield pivot.
Up ahead in attack, Danny Welbeck is a certain starter owing to his splendid form. The Englishman should be joined by Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the final third, with the Armenian in serious need of some positive showings.
The starting lineup should be completed by two of the most promising young players in the Arsenal youth setup – Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah. The duo have already impressed in the few outings that they have received and will look to put on a show for Arsenal against Blackpool.