Nicolas Pepe (RW) – We’d be hoping he was resting for this one to face Burnley at the Emirates, yet instead his idiocy continues to impact his role within the team. On the positive side, he’s put in two fine outings in succession, something we haven’t seen for a long time. Make it a hat-trick and he’ll be back in fine shape to help us through the rest of the season. A joy to watch when he’s in this mood.
Folarin Balogun (ST) – The problem with playing Balogun is that Eddie Nketiah will then miss out. Nketiah was excellent against Rapid, but his experience will grant him more chances down the line as the season progresses, while Balogun will have his best shot at starting a senior match this season.
He fully deserves it, and supporters are desperate to see what impact he can make from the off instead of as a late substitute when Arsenal are cruising. I expect Arteta to make this call given nothing is riding on this clash, even though he isn’t obliged to with Balogun still not signing on the dotted line.
Reiss Nelson (LW) – Where was he against Sp*rs? You’re in need of game-changers to turn the tide, and instead Nelson is left at home. A baffling call that doesn’t merit the 20-year-old’s performances – who will celebrate his 21st birthday on Thursday.
Given his omission last time out, it’s likely he’ll get minutes in Ireland. Ideally not the whole game, as his exemption from the Premier League in favour of the continuously disappointing Willian is both irksome and unwarranted.