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Preview: Arsenal v West Ham, team news, 18-year-old to start + prediction

By on December 19, 2017

Reiss Nelson Arsenal

Arsenal are back in action this evening as we welcome West Ham to the Emirates in the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup.

Arsene Wenger has vowed to stick to his policy of fielding the fringe players and youngsters so the first team regulars will all get a rest ahead of Friday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The second string have played quite a few games together so far this season as they safely navigated the group stages of the Europa League while they’ve progressed through two rounds of the League Cup.

A narrow 1-0 win over Doncaster in the third round was followed by a 2-1 comeback victory over Norwich City which saw youngster Eddie Nketiah make himself a hero having come off the bench to score both goals.

We now face a tricky test against a rejuvenated West Ham side who’ve beaten Chelsea and Stoke in recent games while we were also held to a 0-0 draw at the London Stadium last week.

Team News

So the likes of Cech, Koscielny, Bellerin, Monreal, Xhaka, Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette are all expected to be rested ahead of the Liverpool game.

Ramsey has been ruled out until the New Year with a hamstring injury so Wilshere will also be protected as he’s got a key role to play for the first team over the festive period.

Mustafi is fit again after recovering from a thigh injury but he’ll be saved for the Liverpool clash which will open the door for the likes of Mertesacker and Holding to start in defence.

As for West Ham, they have doubts over Cheikhou Kouyate, Pablo Zabaleta and Marko Arnautovic but Jose Fonte, Edimilson Fernandes and Sam Byram are certain to miss out.

Preferred line-up

I hope Wenger sticks with the back four but I’ve made a couple of changes from my previous preferred line-up article. Firstly, I think Mertesacker should start as rumour has it Andy Carroll will play for West Ham so the BFG is needed to nullify his aerial threat.

I’d also like to see Reiss Nelson be given a chance in attack alongside Walcott and Welbeck as it will be exciting to see what the 18-year-old can do in his more natural position.

It will be interesting to see what Arsene will do at left-back. Maitland-Niles would usually play tonight but he’s been selected at left-back for the first team in the last two games so if he’s going to keep his place against Liverpool then he needs to be rested this evening.

This is the team I’d play:

Likely West Ham XI:  Hart, Ogbonna, Reid, Cresswell, Ayew, Antonio, Obiang, Rice, Masuaka, Hernandez, Sakho

Prediction

As we saw last week, West Ham seem to have organised themselves under David Moyes so I’m expecting a tricky game tonight. We’ve scrapped through the previous two rounds and have struggled at home to top flight clubs in this competition in the past few years so this won’t be easy. However, we’re still able to field a decent team and I’m confident we can progress, but it might take extra time. Arsenal 2-1 West Ham [AET]

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