Four Arsenal academy stars joined first-team training on Tuesday, ahead of the Gunners’ League Cup opener against Brentford.
Joe Willock, Julio Pleguezuelo, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah all joined up with the senior side this week, to prepare for the Brentford clash.
Of the four, Smith Rowe is the most likely to get a start. The BBC report that the 18-year-old is in line to make his full debut in the tie. After we saw the midfielder come on against Vorskla last week, it wouldn’t be a big surprise.
The Standard corroborate that information, and add that Willock and Nketiah “could also be involved”. My guess is that Nketiah has the best chance, given there could be a space in the front three. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back in full training though, and if he starts, along with Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi, that space disappears.
Finally, Julio Pleguezuelo could take advantage of a large number of injuries in the Arsenal back line. Sokratis Papastathopoulos is the latest to end up in the medical room, meaning only Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi are available as senior centre-backs. If Unai Emery wants to rest either of them for the weekend, Pleguezuelo could fill in.
Similarly, until Sead Kolasinac gets back to full fitness, Arsenal have no back up left-back to replace Monreal. Again, Pleguezuelo could fill in there if necessary. We’ll see on Wednesday evening.