Balogun starts | My Arsenal line-up v Sunderland

By on December 21, 2021

emile smith rowe arsenal

Arsenal welcome Sunderland to the Emirates tonight in the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup. This is the line-up I’d like to see Mikel Arteta select for the match…

The boss should take the opportunity to rotate his squad and give our big-guns a rest. Aaron Ramsdale is set to be given the night off with Bernd Leno recalled. The German hasn’t played in the league since late August after losing his first team place but he’ll get a rare run-out tonight.

Nuno Tavares should come in for Kieran Tierney at left-back and the 21-year-old will be looking to impress after a tough few games earlier this month. Cedric Soares will also get a start at right-back with Takehiro Tomiyasu given a well earned rest.

Arsenal should make changes in central defence too but Pablo Mari isn’t available after testing positive for covid. Therefore, Calum Chambers could start alongside Rob Holding with Gabriel and Ben White rested.

I think we’ll see Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka given the night off this evening but unfortunately Albert Sambi Lokonga won’t feature as he’s also been ruled out due to a positive covid test.

Mohamed Elneny should get a run out while Ainsley Maitland-Niles could get another chance to impress in his preferred central midfield position.

Emile Smith Rowe has been on the bench in recent games so he should come back into the starting eleven. The 21-year-old has scored off the bench in the last two games so hopefully we see more of the same from him tonight.

Folarin Balogun arsenal

Balogun starts

Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka should be rested after playing a lot in recent weeks so Nicolas Pepe is likely to come to make a rare start on the right-wing for Arsenal.

If Smith Rowe starts on the left flank then we don’t have too many options in the No.10 role so Martin Odegaard could start – although I wouldn’t keep him on for the full ninety minutes.

Obviously Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang isn’t an option as he’s been frozen out by Arteta following another disciplinary breach. I’ve seen some suggest that Alexandre Lacazette should start but I think he needs to be protected.

No doubt Arteta will give Eddie Nketiah a start but I don’t understand why we’re wasting our time with a player who’s made it clear he’s leaving the club. We should be giving those minutes to Folarin Balogun as he’s committed his future to Arsenal and has more potential than Nketiah.

Here is the side I hope we see:

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