Aston Villa is still on my mind. Has there ever been such an exhilarating, and at the same time, such an exasperating victory in Arsenal history? I can’t think of one. It’s 3 points won though, and that’s nothing to be sniffed at.
Other benefits include Pepe’s debut goal – which should put an end to the silly talk about his pedigree and give him some confidence – and the emergence of Guendouzi as a driving force in midfield. Regardless of the mistakes Guen makes and how raw he is, I think we’re lucky to have him and he’s going to be a top quality player in the future. It will be fun to watch his development. The same goes for Bukayo Saka who was our best player before he was subbed off at half time for Calum Chambers. It all worked out in the end, but not sure things went to plan. In fact, I’m sure they didn’t.
However, we now move on to the lower pressure environment of the Corporate Greed Cup, which should offer an opportunity for some more of our highly touted youth to continue their development with first team exposure.
I have a soft spot for our opponents, Nottingham Forest. They were the club of Clough, who was reluctantly, but genuinely, gushing about our quality on the day we surpassed their unbeaten games record set by them many years ago. If that seems like a silly reason to like them, it is. But so what?
Nottingham Forest are 6th in the Championship, with 15 points in 8 games. They’ve taken 95 shots, scored 11 goals and conceded 6. They’ve won their last 2 games 1-0. In the League Cup they beat Derby County 3-0 and Fleetwood Town 1-0 to get this far. Everything seems to point to a low scoring game, especially with how Emery prefers to play, but hopefully the young players will be too eager and too Arsenal for Emery to curb.
Emery did say not one player (from Sunday) will be ‘repeated’. Tierney and Bellerin are in line to make their first appearance of the season, and indeed career, for the Arsenal first team. But there is still some doubt on whether they’ll start. Holding almost certainly will, and I would think Calum Chambers will be a shoe-in as a RB. Could Mavropanos make his first start of the season too? I hope so. He’s another whose talent I believe in. Not the most sophisticated CB, but I think he has the size and ability to be part of a good CB partnership. It’s more likely to be Mustafi though, after a solid performance in the EL.
It’s always difficult to predict starting lineups, and maybe even more so with a coach like Emery. But, since I already started doing them this season, I’ll continue, poor record notwithstanding.
Starting: Martinez, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Bola, Torreira, Willock, Nelson, Ozil, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli.
Subs: Macey, Mavropanos, Bellerin, Tierney, Burton, Saka, John-Jules.
With Emery’s proposed radical change in personnel it would be foolish to predict a scoreline, something I am already poor at. Let’s just hope for a positive outcome. COYR!