Arsenal u23s face Tottenham Hotspur on Friday, looking to get back to winning ways after a string of draws and defeats.
Arsenal’s u21 and u23 teams haven’t won since mid-September when they came from behind against Leicester City. They’ve drawn with Wolves, Liverpool and Manchester City, whilst losing to Chelsea and Peterborough’s senior side.
In fairness, the Peterborough game involved a significantly weakened Arsenal side, without either of their star strikers Folarin Balogun and Tyreece John-Jules. John-Jules has since returned, but it looks like Balogun will be out injured for a while.
The game is at the Lamex Stadium at 19:00 BST on Friday, and is unlikely to be streamed. Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the match.
17-year-old Karl Hein has been a regular for the u23s in Arthur Okonkwo’s absence, so he should continue his run of games. James Hillson will likely be on the bench.
Matt Macey is also an option, after he travelled but didn’t feature against Liverpool. We’re predicting a start for Hein on the basis that Macey won’t have much time to spend with the u23s preparing though.
Steve Bould praised Zak Swanson’s consistency after the game against Manchester City, and the right-back looks set to start once again. Tolaji Bola will play left-back on the other side.
Konstantinos Mavropanos and Harry Clarke are the go-to centre-back pairing at the moment, so they’re the most likely to start. There are other options though, with Mark McGuinness back involved after injury and Zech Medley the same.
Matt Smith was also praised by Bould after the City game, so it seems likely he’ll join Robbie Burton and Ben Cottrell in the middle again. Jordan McEneff and James Olayinka have missed out recently for those three.
Sadly, Arsenal’s top scorer Folarin Balogun is unavailable after injury. Tyreece John-Jules has returned just in time for this match though, and he scored in his only start against the Spurs u23s last season.
Trae Coyle and Nathan Tormey will continue their respective runs in the wide positions. Sam Greenwood should make the squad in Balogun’s absence as cover up front and out wide.