Ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup clash with Blackpool, Unai Emery has suggested that four of U-23 young Gunners will be in the starting XI.
Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock have been named in the squad that will take on Blackpool at Bloomfield Road tomorrow.
Although Arsenal signed on five players in the summer transfer window, Emery’s squad is threadbare as a result of injuries to some of his key players.
Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal, Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi are all nursing various injuries and they stand no chance in the Gunners FA Cup game.
The Gunners squad is stretched to limit at the moment and it appears that the top brass of the club are not ready to make funds available to bolster Emery’s squad. The Spanish tactician is left only with the option of tweaking his squad to avoid capitulation.
Speaking ahead of the game.
Emery told Arsenal.com:
“I am using different players because of injuries, but it is important for us to give chances to the young players,”
“The young players, like Saka, he has debuted in his last match and he was playing because at the moment we haven’t a lot of players who have the possibility to play wide right or wide left.
“Saka is in the academy, growing up with good performances. It is the beginning, I hope, of a long career here in Arsenal.
“He is improving a lot and, although he is very young, he is training with us and understanding our tactics with the other players. He is coming with us on a lot of matches and living our moments with the team.
“Now he starts to play in the games and also in the Premier League. He is going to have a career but we need to help him also with a strategy for this.
“We have other players the same – Emile, Willock, Nketiah – we need to give them chances while thinking about a good performance with a good combination [in the team]. On Saturday I am going to think like that.”