Time for the Fringe Players to Step Up Against the Lord
We shift goal posts from the Premier League to the EFL Cup, as the Gunners visit the City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest. The EFL will always be fourth in Arsenal’s competition priority list, so it offers the fans the chance to see some players that haven’t featured for quite some time. With David Ospina confirmed as Arsenal’s Champions League goalkeeper, I can safety assume that Emiliano Martinez would be the custodian in goal tonight. Matt Debuchy managed to remain at the club when it seemed as if he was heading towards the exit door, so I’d expect Hector Bellerin to get a breather. Kieran Gibbs would definitely start ahead of Nacho Monreal and it would be nice to see everybody’s favorite new kid on the block, Rob Holding, feature again after such an impressive start to his Arsenal career.
In midfield, we would probably see a Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny combination, as both players haven’t seen as much game time as they’d have liked. Elneny is sure to leave the club in the winter to represent Egypt in the African Cup of Nations, but he’d want to be at optimal fitness levels for that tournament. Following his inconsistent performances in the side, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been rightly dropped out of the squad but he’d want to ensure he utilizes such a great opportunity to impress again, ahead of a perceived weaker opposition. Arsenal will do well not to underrate Nottingham Forest, especially when they were spanked by Sheffield Wednesday last season.
All eyes will be on the new signing, Lucas Perez, that hasn’t held down a first team berth yet, with Alexis Sanchez playing as a center forward. With Chelsea on the horizon, the Chilean would be given a breather and with Giroud still struggling with injury, it’s more than certain that Arsenal’s new #9 will spearhead the attack.
The Gunners are coming up against a Nottingham Forest side fresh from a home defeat to Norwich last weekend. Despite opening the scoring with Vellios, they dropped their guard in the second half and conceded two goals to the recently relegated Premier League side. Forest is currently 13th in the Championship, and will be hoping to push for a playoff spot come May.
This game also offers the Gunners a chance to lock horns with the likes of Henri Lansbury and the Lord himself, Nicklas Bendtner. The Dane has been on the news lately, stating that his ‘best striker in the world’ claims haunted him,
“So I’m going to make the best out of the rest of my career and do the best I can. There are many goals I have set myself over the years. Many things I have said and been killed for.
“I actually don’t regret saying I want to be the best striker in the world, because that’s what everyone wants. It’s just that no one wants to say it.
“It has haunted me.
“I was very young and I might have said it too early, before I’d proved I was in that category – or could get in that category.
“But I’m here now and I want to reboot, and get back to just playing.
Let’s see what happens after 90 minutes tonight.