Arsenal u23s face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday, as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League 2 season.
The u23s have put together three wins and two draws in the league so far, leaving them level on points with PL2 leaders Chelsea.
The Blues’ goal difference is only one superior, and Arsenal have scored more, so bettering Chelsea’s result by a goal this weekend would see the young Gunners top.
On this occasion Arsenal travel to Wolves, who have won two, drawn one and lost two this season.
The match is at New Bucks Head and adult tickets are £3, but the game is also being streamed live by Wolves. Follow this link to find out how to watch the game online.
Let’s have a look at our predicted team for the match.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-2-2)
Karl Hein seems to have nailed down the first-choice spot in goal recently, starting the last three games whilst James Hillson either sat on the bench or played for the u18s. Neither goalkeeper has kept a clean sheet so far, so let’s hope this will be the first.
It’s very possible the defence ends up overrun with senior players, as it was on Saturday. Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding both started at the weekend, with Zech Medley also playing his first minutes since the pre-season tour after recovering from injury.
This time around, Holding won’t be involved, so Harry Clarke will return to the starting lineup. Mavropanos, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney all have the potential to play some part in the match though.
Bellerin appears to be the closer of the two full-backs to return, so we predict he’ll start with Tierney left out for now. There are a couple more youth games at the end of the month for either of them if they don’t start on this occasion.
Assuming Bellerin, Clarke and Mavropanos start, that leaves one spot open at left-back for Tolaji Bola. Medley will probably continue his recovery from the bench whilst Zak Swanson comes on for Bellerin at half-time or thereabouts.
Robbie Burton and Jordan McEneff are likely to continue their run in the team, but 16-year-old Miguel Azeez could be pushing the two of them for games very soon.
James Olayinka and Matt Smith have been absent with injury lately, which has also helped Burton and McEneff keep their places.
Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe are all away with the first team, so Trae Coyle and Nathan Tormey will retain their places in the lineup.
Given neither Folarin Balogun nor Tyreece John-Jules travelled for the Europa League clash with Frankfurt, that makes predicting the u23s’ front two very straightforward.
John-Jules has three goals in five games (four starts), and he scored a brace over the weekend, whilst Balogun has four goals and four assists in those five fixtures, and he assisted both goals.
The duo should both be pushing for the League Cup squad to face Nottingham Forest the following Tuesday.
Hein; Bellerin, Mavropanos, Clarke, Bola; Burton, McEneff; Tormey, Coyle; Balogun, John-Jules.