While Arsenal are expected to field a strong-ish team against BATE Borisov, it’s likely that it won’t be that dissimilar to the starting XI we saw in the League Cup against Doncaster Rovers and will probably be quite different to the side that beat West Brom 2-0 on Monday.
Although Arsene Wenger will want to win the Europa League clash in Belarus on Thursday night, he’ll also be very aware of first team players getting rest.
For example, Mesut Ozil has only just returned from a knee injury so jetting him off on a 2,400-round trip to play in the Europa League probably isn’t top of his ‘to do’ list right now.
Plus, the team that faced FC Cologne in the previous European game did well, winning 3-1 after going 1-0 down in the first half. Therefore, they could get more game time as a reward.
I reckon Jack Wilshere, who played 22 minutes against Cologne and 90 versus Donny, should get another start while David Ospina, Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud will all probably get decent run-outs. Although hopefully Dave doesn’t have to do much running…
Then, we have the odd first team player, like Hector Bellerin, who played and scored against Cologne, Mohamed Elneny and Alexis Sanchez thrown in to add more quality and also prove that Arsenal are taking the competition seriously.
I also believe Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who had a strong game against the Rovers, could start but I’m not so sure about Reiss Nelson
Predicted starting XI (3-4-2-1): Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Wilshere, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Alexis, Giroud.