4 teenagers to start alongside Lacazette: How Arsenal should line-up against Blackpool

By on January 4, 2019

Unai Emery gets his first taste of the FA Cup when we take on Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Saturday evening. This is the line-up I’d like the boss to select…

Goalkeeper: Cech

Arsenal No.1 Bernd Leno should be given a rest so our ‘cup keeper’ Petr Cech is set for a run out in goal.

Defence: Lichtsteiner, Medley, Koscielny, Jenkinson

I think we should revert to a back four tomorrow as we don’t really have the numbers needed to field a back three and rest players. There is no way I’d risk Sokratis in this game while Rob Holding is out for the season and Shkodran Mustafi is expected to miss out with an on-going hamstring problem.

Dinos Mavropanos has returned to full training this week but he’s been out for months with a groin injury so this game will come too soon meaning Laurent Koscielny may have to play again. I’ve seen suggestions that Stephan Lichtsteiner could play in the middle but I’d rather we give youngster Zech Medley a chance. That would allow Lichtsteiner to come in at right-back and give Ainsley Maitland-Niles a breather.

Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin were in full training today but I wouldn’t risk them against Blackpool while Sead Kolasinac should also be rested, so we may need to call on Carl Jenkinson to fill-in at left-back.

Midfield: Guendouzi, Elneny

Arsenal should freshen things up in midfield with Mohamed Elneny coming in for Granit Xhaka – who deserves a rest. Lucas Torreira played the second half against Fulham at the weekend but I’d like to see him completely rested for this one. Joe Willock is an option but I think Matteo Guendouzi should start alongside Elneny.

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Attack: Smith Rowe, Ramsey, Nketiah, Lacazette

Aaron Ramsey deserves to start. The Welshman is set to leave Arsenal to join Juventus on a free transfer in the summer so he’s going to play a fringe role for the first team over the coming months. Mesut Ozil is set to miss out with a knee injury once again so I’d start Rambo in the advanced central midfield position against Blackpool.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be rested but with Danny Welbeck and Henrikh Mkhitaryan out, we don’t have too many senior options to rotate with in attack. Alex Iwobi has played a lot of football lately and could so with a rest so we’re relying on the kids.

Eddie Nketiah is expected to be given a start and Emery will probably play him through the middle with Alexandre Lacazette rested/on the bench. However, I think we’d be taking a big risk if we field too weak a side so I’d like to see Lacazette given a start up front with Nketiah on the wing – where he’s played for Arsenal in the Europa League this season.

Emile Smith Rowe is back in full training after recovering from a hip injury so he could start in attack while Buyaka Saka would provide us with an exciting option from the bench.

Here is the side I hope we’ll see:

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