Still feeling robbed after defeat to Manchester City, here’s our predicted Arsenal lineup to face Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final first leg.
On this occasion, there’s no doubt at all that Arsenal will be making at least two changes. Gabriel Magalhaes is suspended, and Thomas Partey has left the club to link up with his Ghana teammates for AFCON. At the very least, those two won’t be involved.
But with an early-round FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest at the weekend and five days of recovery after the Manchester City game, Mikel Arteta (and/or Albert Stuivenberg) will probably name a fairly similar side to the City match – with a few exceptions.
Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup to face Liverpool on Thursday.
This is one of those exceptions. Bernd Leno has only really been given a chance in the cup games in recent months, and it would be a big blow to his morale if he no longer even got starts in those.
Aaron Ramsdale may find himself out of the team for a few games, given the next three fixtures are all cup matches. But he’s had plenty of match action over the last few months.
As mentioned, Gabriel is suspended, and Rob Holding will probably take his place. But other than that, it’s likely to be a similar defence to the City game.
Kieran Tierney, Ben White, and Takehiro Tomiyasu should all have plenty of time to rest before and after this game, and it would be better to play them in this leg than the second leg, which is days before the North London derby.
Arsenal’s midfield options are running low, but Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga are both available to start. Ahead of them, Emile Smith Rowe could come in to give Martin Odegaard a break and Smith Rowe a rare recent chance to start.
With Pepe gone, Bukayo Saka has more than one reason to start this match. Four goals and two assists in his last five games is the other big one.
Nketiah’s absence also means he isn’t an option on the left, and if Folarin Balogun is going to come in, it will probably be against Nottingham Forest rather than Liverpool. So that means another start for Gabriel Martinelli too.