Tonight Arsenal travel to Leicester in the League cup.
With games coming thick and fast, it will give Mikel Arteta a chance to “shuffle the pack” and give game time to his fringe squad players.
In the past the League Cup has been used to give youngsters a run out. But with Arsenal having such a young squad, many of the youngsters involved tonight will already be household names.
Goalkeeper will be a bit of a headache for Arteta.
With Emi Martinez gone, does he put in Matt Macey, who might also be leaving, or go for Dijan Iliev – who will surely replace Macey as 3rd choice keeper.
I actually think he will stick with Bernd Leno and we will see the club move away from having a “cup keeper” – although we might see Runar Runarsson in goal for League Cup games.
Cedric Soares will get a run out at right back, whilst Saed Kolasinac will be the only outfield player from Saturday’s game starting XI against West Ham to also play tonight. Kieran Tierney give the week off to fully recover from his hip injury.
Between them will be David Luiz and William Saliba.
Luiz is returning from a short injury and getting him match sharp makes sense prior to Liverpool next Monday.
Arteta has spoken about slowly integrating Saliba into the first team.
He is young and has not played a competitive game since March. Arteta clearly feels he needs games at a lower intensity before he is ready for Premier League football.
After playing in the U23s last week, a League Cup game is the next step up.
As you can tell by now, I think Arteta will switch from 343 to 433 tonight.
The midfield 3 will contain Joe Willock, Mo Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
All 3 have a role to play this season as squad players, and with Matteo Guendouzi still being re-integrated into the first team squad, they will make up a high energy midfield.
Expect Elneny to remain dairy central and disciplined, giving Willock and AMN the freedom to use their athleticism and get forward.
The front 3 writes itself.
Nicolas Pepe has found himself on the bench behind Willian in the first 2 Premier League games of the season. He will shine this season and tonight will hopefully see him push to start against Liverpool.
Eddie Nketiah replaces Alex Lacazette up top.
On the back of his winner against West Ham and his gol scoring exploits for England U21s, it’ll be good for him to get a 90 minute run out.
Out of position on the left will be Reiss Nelson.
It feels like the young Englishman is at a cross roads in his career, as Arsenal have spent big on Pepe and also signed Willian on the right hand side.
Nelson has also not put in the headline grabbing performances of Bukayo Saka on the left.
But it is easy to forget Nelson is just 20-years-old. He has time on his side to continue developing and good performances in the League Cup and Europa League will be key for his development.
I’d imagine Nelson will swap wings with Pepe throughout the game.
Predicted line up: