Arsenal face Al-Nasr Dubai SC in a mid-season friendly to commemorate the opening of the Al Maktoum Stadium on Tuesday, with a number of senior players expected to be involved.
The full travelling squad in Dubai involves three injured stars in Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding, plus another 20 fit players from the senior squad and the Arsenal academy.
This is the full list of players available: Denis Suarez, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Charlie Gilmour, Xavier Amaechi, James Olayinka, Dominic Thompson, Tyreece John-Jules, Ben Sheaf, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Julio Pleguezuelo, Carl Jenkinson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Bernd Leno, Alexandre Lacazette, Petr Cech, Shkodran Mustafi, Zech Medley, Mesut Özil, Arthur Okonkwo and Laurent Koscielny.
Emery will presumably start the strongest side he can, then sub his key players off before they tire. Let’s have a look at our predicted XI for the match.
Team by Position
Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper Deyan Iliev was the only one to leave on international duty, meaning Bernd Leno and Petr Cech are both available for this match. Arthur Okonkwo joined up with the squad as their backup. Most likely, Leno will start the match, with Cech probably coming on for the second half.
Given Arsenal have a load of centre-backs available on the trip and not so many midfielders, it makes sense for them to play three at the back. Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi are the obvious choices, with Konstantinos Mavropanos likely to get his first start since pre-season alongside them.
Sead Kolasinac is with Bosnia and Herzegovina, whilst Nacho Monreal had to remain at home with a minor injury. As a result, the left wing-back position will likely be filled by a youth player, with Dominic Thompson and Zech Medley both having played there before.
Medley has already made his debut under Emery, and he came off the bench to play left-back against Blackpool in January. Meanwhile, Thompson has been playing at number 10 for the u23s recently, so Medley should get the nod.
On the other side, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson are both available, but Maitland-Niles will probably be needed in the front three, leaving Jenkinson to start on the right.
Mesut Özil will have to fill in, with Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Matteo Guendouzi and Aaron Ramsey all on international duty.
Alongside him, Charlie Gilmour, Ben Sheaf and James Olayinka will all be hopeful of their first start under Emery. Gilmour is probably most likely after his substitute appearances in the Europa League earlier this campaign. He’s also higher up in the u23 midfield hierarchy, captaining the side a couple of times this season.
Alexandre Lacazette is the obvious choice up front, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang away with Gabon and Eddie Nketiah with the England u20s.
Denis Suarez and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are the only senior options who can realistically fill the other two spots. That will mean Suarez’s first start for the club, in addition to Charlie Gilmour and Zech Medley making theirs.
It’s possible Emery will swap Maitland-Niles and Özil, playing the German in the front three and the Englishman in midfield. However, you’d expect he’d prefer to see Maitland-Niles continuing to practice playing out wide on the right, considering that’s where he’ll be needed for the next two months.
Winger Xavier Amaechi and centre-forward Tyreece John-Jules both pulled out of England u18 duty for this trip, and will probably get a half from the bench.