Arsenal are likely to make 11 changes on Saturday, despite the clubs fringe players impressing heavily in a 4-0 League Cup win on Tuesday night.
Arsene Wenger opted to leave the 11 that started against Hull City at home when they travelled to Forest, after the club faced 3 tricky looking away fixtures in 7 days. Despite leaving the big guns at home, Arsenal were very impressive on Tuesday night and the performances from the players out of the XI normally, will have given Arsene plenty to mull over ahead of Saturday’s game.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Cech is set to face his former club and after his mistake against Hull City, he needs to up his game to keep his place ahead of David Ospina and Damian Martinez, who have both impressed when given the chance this season.
Defence: Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal
A makeshift Arsenal back four kept a clean sheet against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday and that means the likes of Gibbs and Holding will be pushing for a starting place. The pressure is now on the established back four to perform or there are players ready to take their places. Arsene will want more from Bellerin and Monreal than he has seen so far this season, whilst there is hope that Mustafi and Koscielny can continue to bond and build a strong defensive partnership.
Midfield: Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla; Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. As Arsene has said recently, Coquelin and Cazorla work well in midfield together and all signs point to him keeping that duo in the centre for this fixture, despite Xhaka and Elneny both impressing in the Cup tie. Walcott and Iwobi have been on form on the wings for the Gunners, whilst Ozil is yet to find his rhythm this season – Arsenal fans will hope the midweek rest did him good. Ozil cannot afford to hide in the shadows as with Xhaka and Elneny impressing, even the German is not immune from being dropped as Cazorla or Iwobi could play in the more advanced role. Arsenal will need Coquelin to put in a similar performance to what he did against Hull, albeit against much tougher opposition. Against Hull Coquelin was not only good defensively but assured in possession – Arsenal need that from every midfielder considering the system they deploy.
Stat: Alex Iwobi has made 3 assists in the Premier League this season from 2 starts and 1 sub appearance.
Striker: Alexis Sanchez
This selection may not be everyone’s cup of tea and it does sometimes see Arsenal play with a slow tempo, but the Gunners have managed good results when Alexis has started up front against PSG and Hull, so I would expect to see him play there again. If it’s not working, the Gunners have Lucas Perez on the bench, who scored his first two Arsenal goals on Tuesday night.