Balogun starts, no Saka | My Arsenal line-up vs Forest

By on January 8, 2022

Folarin Balogun arsenal

Arsenal take on Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday evening. This is the line-up I’d like to see selected for the match…

The boss is sure to make plenty of changes for the game as we have a semi-final double header with Liverpool and a huge clash with Tottenham coming up over the next two weeks.

Bernd Leno should get a start in goal in order to give Aaron Ramsdale a rest while I’d also give Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White the night off. Gabriel is certain to miss out as he’s suspended following his sending off against Man City.

Nuno Tavares can come in at left back while Cedric Soares can replace Tomi at right-back. Pablo Mari is being linked with a move this month but I’d still start him alongside Rob Holding in the middle of Arsenal’s defence tomorrow.

We are extremely short of options in midfield with Thomas Partey and Mo Elneny at the AFCON while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has joined AS Roma on loan for the rest of the season.

We’d be mad to risk Granit Xhaka so I hope we see him rested tomorrow. Albert Lokonga should get a start while I’d also love to see Charlie Patino making his full debut in the middle of the park. He’s a huge talent so it will be great to see him from the start following his dream debut off the bench against Sunderland last month.

charlie patino arsenal

Martin Odegaard deserves a rest as he’s played a lot of football lately so Emile Smith Rowe can replace him in the No.10 role while Gabriel Martinelli can continue on the left flank for Arsenal.

Nicolas Pepe is away at the AFCON and I’ve seen some outlets suggesting that Bukayo Saka will start on the right but I think that’s madness. Why risk him with so many big games coming up?

Therefore, I’d go with Eddie Nketiah out wide and Folarin Balogun up front. I’ve been calling for Arteta to give Balogun more chances and this is the perfect time to do it. I know he’s expected to join Middleborough on loan this month but while he’s still an Arsenal player, we need to use him.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is at the AFCON but he wouldn’t have featured anyway due to his colossal fall out with Arteta. Alexandre Lacazette should be rested but it might be prudent to have him on the bench along with Saka.

Here is the side I hope we see:

football formations


  1. Stephan Luc Larose

    January 8, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    Nketiah’s the real goal scorer, you should have put him centre forward

  2. Saruu

    January 9, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    Nketiah is good goal scorer,so you should put infront goal

  3. camisola arsenal

    January 11, 2022 at 3:07 am

    For only the second time in the past 26 years, we have failed to make it past the third round of the FA Cup – and once again Nottingham Forest – as they were in 2018 – were our nemeses.