As you probably already know, Arsene Wenger has decided to leave a number of Arsenal first team players in London, some with niggling injury issues and some just to get a much needed rest before the festive fixtures begin in earnest. So although the manager still wants to win the game, he knows that it is unlikely to affect the group standings and so there are six academy players in the squad.
Mathieu Debuchy is back from injury and likely to start, as is Wojciech Szczesny, and Calum Chambers is set for an enforced rest against Newcastle at the weekend because of his sending off. But I’m sure that Wenger would like to let all the rest of his first team sit out the game and he must balance the desire to win against giving the young Gunners a great opportunity and some valuable experience.
The six players are; young striker Chuba Akpom who has been on fire this season and scored a hat-truck in the last under 21 game, Gedion Zelalem, the central midfielder who has been compared to Cesc Fabregas, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the talented winger who was on the bench for the Stoke game, Stefan O’Connor the promising 17-year old centre back who recently signed his first professional contract, Alex Iwobi the Nigerian born winger and nephew of Jay-Jay Okocha and finally the young defensive midfielder Glen Kamara who also plays for the Finland national team at under 21 level.
I would love to see all of them get a go tonight, but that is unlikely. However, I don’t see why we should not start with a couple of them at least, perhaps Akpom up front, Kamara or Zelalem in midfield and maybe even O’Connor in defence.
Which if any would you start with Gooners?