Arsenal face Bodo/Glimt this evening in the Europa League, but having faced rivals Tottenham on Saturday with another big game against Liverpool come Sunday, major rotation is expected.
While you can be sure that less than half of our players will be retaining their starting place for tonight’s clash, a new potential issue for us may come in midfield.
While Albert Sambi Lokonga will surely come into the side to take up one of the two central roles, we still need to name his partner through the middle. Granit Xhaka has regularly been the man to play in all competitions, but I question whether that is the right decision today. At present, I believe he is likely to start in the role, but due to his importance to the way that we are playing so far this term, using him is a risk we should avert ahead of taking on Liverpool.
Saying that, it would be an even bigger risk to play Thomas Partey, who isn’t believed to be back to 100% after his most recent injury, and with his recent record of absence he definitely shouldn’t play either, but we do have other options. Ben White is an option through the middle, while we could always drop Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson into a deeper role to play either side of Lokonga in a 4-3-3.
Matt Smith or Ethan Nwaneri could also be options to play through the middle, but there is a distinct lack of experience there at present, but one more option in Oleksandr Zinchenko could be another possibility.
I believe it should be possible to line-up a team without the need to use two players who I believe could have a huge influence on whether we beat the Reds at the Emirates on Sunday, and should we make it to the weekend without any injury issues, that is what I believe will happen.
Does Xhaka’s fitness levels mean he is only a minimal risk, and don’t mind seeing him start both matches? Or do you agree that his newfound importance means we should look to rest him any cost to give us our best shot on Sunday?
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