Arsenal travel to Blackpool on Saturday to kick off their FA Cup campaign for the season at Bloomfield Road.
After dropping out of the League Cup in December, Unai Emery’s side now have a second chance for domestic success with the country’s premium cup competition. Their road to Wembley begins with a trip to Blackpool, who currently sit 10th in League One.
The fixture gives Emery a great opportunity to rest a few stars after a busy Christmas period. Arsenal’s next Premier League game isn’t until January 12th, so any players who don’t feature against Blackpool will get an 11-day rest. Plus, it’s a chance for a couple of young stars and those in the reserves of the squad to show what they can do.
Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the clash.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
In goal, Petr Cech should return to the starting lineup, after appearing in Arsenal’s last two cup matches. He’s only played one game in the last month, so this is a good opportunity for him to get back out on the pitch.
Arsenal will likely revert to a back-four, after utilising a back-three at the weekend. Unai Emery still doesn’t have many centre-backs available to choose from right now, so it makes more sense to only play two of them.
Shkodran Mustafi still appears to be struggling with injury, and Emery won’t want to overplay Laurent Koscielny. As a result, Sokratis Papastathopoulos should start, most likely alongside Zech Medley making his full debut. If Konstantinos Mavropanos returns in time, he’s another option, but we’ll have to wait for confirmation on that.
At right-back, Stephan Lichtsteiner should start ahead of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin, who is still returning from injury. On the left, Sead Kolasinac is still currently the only option, thanks to Nacho Monreal’s absence. There’s a small possibility Carl Jenkinson could fill in, but we expect Emery to opt for Kolasinac.
Click ‘Next’ for Midfield, Forwards and the full Predicted Starting XI