Patino makes full debut | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Forest
Arsenal take on Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday evening. Here is the side Mikel Arteta is expected to pick:
Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale is set to be given a rest so Bernd Leno will be recalled between the sticks tomorrow.
Defence: Arsenal should make plenty of changes in defence with Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu rested while Gabriel is suspended following his sending off during the defeat to Manchester City last weekend.
Rob Holding is almost certain to be recalled and he could be joined by Pablo Mari in the middle of the back four with Ben White rested. Cedric Soares should come in at right-back while Nuno Tavares will start at left-back.
Midfield: Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are unavailable as they are at the African Cup of Nations while Ainsley Maitland-Niles won’t feature after completing a loan move to AS Roma yesterday.
Granit Xhaka hasn’t been spotted in training recently and with so few midfield options in the squad right now, he’s unlikely to be risked anyway with Arsenal facing some big games against Liverpool and Tottenham this month.
Therefore, Albert Sambi Lokonga is expected to start while Charlie Patino could make his full debut in midfield. The 18-year-old is a huge talent and impressed off the bench against Sunderland in the League Cup last month so Arteta may take the opportunity to see him from the start.
Smith Rowe recalled
Attack: Emile Smith Rowe is certain to be recalled having been left out of the starting eleven in recent weeks and he may be deployed in the No.10 role with Martin Odegaard given a well-earned rest.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are at the AFCON so Arsenal have limited options in attack which could force Arteta to field a stronger line-up than he’d ideally want to select.
Therefore, Bukayo Saka may start on the right flank with Gabriel Martinelli keeping his place on the left. Arteta will pray the duo don’t pick up any injury concerns ahead of a key run of games.
Alexandre Lacazette should be rested so Eddie Nketiah is expected to be recalled to start up front for Arsenal and he’ll be looking to continue his excellent goal-scoring record in the domestic cups.
Folarin Balogun would usually be a serious option in the third round of the FA Cup but the young striker is close to securing a loan move to Middlesborough so he might not be involved tomorrow.
Here is how Arsenal could line-up: