Arsenal are all set to take on BATE Borisov in Belarus in their second Europa League fixture this year tonight after coming out of a 2-0 victory on monday night against West Bromwich albion.
Arsenal face having to play three games in a span of just 7 days which means Arsenal were always expected to play a heavily rotated side tonight in lieu of keeping their star players fresh for the League clashes.
Last night Arsenal’s travelling contingent to Belarus included a host of young academy players along with a handful of first team players.
A number of teenage prospects who have never played for the first team were on the plane, but Wenger said his plan is to field a starting strong starting line-up consisting of mainly first team regulars along with ‘1-2 young players’ and the rest of the travelling youngsters on the bench.
Arsenal have traveled without as many as 10 first team regulars with them namely Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Lacazette, Saed Kolasinac, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech, Nacho Monreal, and Alexis Sanchez.
Basically the entire first team that started the game on monday has stayed back in London Colney leaving certain other first team players to travel like Wilshere, Mustafi, Giroud, Elneny, Mertesacker.
Other regular first team players included in the fold are David Ospina, Rob Holding and Theo Walcott.
Arsene Wenger is set to name an experienced side against BATE Borisov with Per Mertesacker, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, Elneny, Wilshere set to start along with a young bench to call upon from.
Injury Report ahead of the clash with BATE Borisov :
Meanwhile on the injury front, Alex Iwobi is the latest inclusion and has been ruled out of the game against BATE Borisov with a thigh problem.
The usuals include Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck .
Mesut Ozil has recovered from his knee inflamation but has been kept back in order to fully recharge his batteries and focus on the game against Brighton on sunday.
Academy players :
Along with a number of first team players and a strong starting up the rest of the players included in the trip are several academy players who are on the verge of making their European Debut.
Players like Ress Nelson and Ainsley Maitland Niles are expected to start in their respective right and left wing back positions.
Other players present are Joe Willock, McGuane, Josh Dasilva, Chuba Akpom, Macey, Gilmour, Eddie Nketiah and Vlad Dragomir.
Wenger has openly spoken about Vlad Dragomir and how he like a Wilshere type number 10 player. He is not expected to start but if he does feature in the last 20 mins or so, he is someone we would like to keep an eye on.
Depending on the outcome of the match the players present on the bench are likely to be debuted. For those like Ress Nelson who will be making his European Debut it should be quite a memorable fixture.
Wenger has urged the youngsters to make their opportunity count even if they are afforded just 20 minutes of game time in the latter stages of the match.
Provisional Squad for the game againast BATE Borisov :
Ospina, Cech, Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Mustafi, Wilshere, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Giroud, Nelson, Willock, McGuane, Dasilva, Akpom, Gilmour, Debuchy.