Arsenal u23s take on Blackburn Rovers on Friday night, so let’s take a look at our predicted lineup for the match.
The Arsenal u23s are still searching for their first win of the season, though they have a couple of wins in the EFL Trophy as the u21s, which is essentially the same team.
All the same, things are going very badly in the Premier League 2. Arsenal sit bottom of the table on two points, having played at least a game more than almost every single team above them. The only exception is Derby, who are top.
Unfortunately, Blackburn aren’t an easy opponent to face right now. They’re one of two undefeated teams in the division and could go top by winning their game in hand. That’s their motivation against Arsenal on Friday at 19:00 GMT.
Karl Hein should return to the team after his suspension. He picked up a red card against Manchester City for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity, but he served his game out against Liverpool last Friday.
Given the injuries at right-back, 16-year-old Brooke Norton-Cuffy will probably have to step up again. Arsenal picked up another defensive injury against Liverpool, with Jonathan Dinzeyi going off early. So Alex Kirk will probably need to fill in at centre-back.
It’s likely William Saliba starts alongside Kirk, as he continues to wait for first-team chances. Joel Lopez should start at left-back.
I wouldn’t expect too many changes to the midfield of Tim Akinola, Miguel Azeez, and Ben Cottrell against Liverpool. Catalin Cirjan is perhaps the one player who could come in for one of them, but Bould seems to prefer the other three right now.
Folarin Balogun and Nikolaj Moller seem like easy picks here. The only likely way Bould would drop either of them is an injury or Balogun making a lengthy appearance for the first team on Thursday. If that happened, Kido Taylor-Hart could fill in.
Taylor-Hart may well start anyway, in the third forward position. However, we’re predicting a debut for Joel Ideho, the right-winger Arsenal brought in over the summer. He made the bench for the first time last weekend.