Arsenal face Nottingham Forest in the League Cup at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night, just two days after beating Aston Villa.
The powers that be have decided Arsenal aren’t going to get a proper break before this fixture, despite the team’s next game not taking place until next Monday.
As a result, wholesale changes are expected to avoid any injuries before the Premier League trip to Old Trafford.
The League Cup is also an opportunity to give some young players a chance, particularly against lower-league opponents. Let’s have a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for the match.
Emi Martinez should get another game after his clean sheet against Frankfurt. Matt Macey is the alternative, as Bernd Leno will surely get a rest. Martinez has earned more game time though.
Calum Chambers will probably have to continue his run at right-back after Ainsley Maitland-Niles, though it’s also possible Shkodran Mustafi might come in.
In the centre, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding both need a senior game after completing 90 minutes for the u23s.
David Luiz and Sokratis should get a rest after completing the full match with 10 men against Villa. As should Kolasinac, though it’s hard to see who comes in for him.
Perhaps Tolaji Bola or Tobi Omole might step up from the academy, or Arsenal might feel comfortable giving Kieran Tierney some minutes after he completed over an hour for the u23s last week.
Bola, 20, has waited a long time for an opportunity, and it does seem like it might be a little too soon for Tierney. We’ve predicted Bola in our team, but we’ll wait on pre-match updates from Unai Emery.
Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and Dani Ceballos should all take a backseat for this one in favour of the younger players and Mesut Özil.
It’s almost embarrassing that Özil looks so likely to start this one alongside youngsters after being left out against Frankfurt and Villa, but that’s where we are. Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe should complete the midfield.
Gabriel Martinelli is yet to get a start, so we’re predicting him to feature over Bukayo Saka, despite the young left-winger’s strong form last week. Meanwhile, Reiss Nelson will shift over to the right in place of Nicolas Pepe.
At centre-forward, it must be time to rest Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang now. It’s getting ridiculous how many games he’s playing 90 minutes in (every single match this season) and Arsenal can’t afford an injury ahead of the Manchester United trip.
That’s not a problem though, because Arsenal have two excellent academy strikers pushing for chances: Folarin Balogun and Tyreece John-Jules.
Both have scored two and assisted two in their last two games, and Balogun leads the Premier League 2 for goals, as well as being second in the top-assister tally. John-Jules seems more likely to start though, given he joined the first team in pre-season.