Unai Emery has given his clearest indication yet that he’ll select up-and-coming prospects in this season’s Carabao Cup meaning the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock could get a chance when Arsenal face Brentford tomorrow.
The Spaniard was relatively conservative in his squad rotation for the recent Europa League game with Vorskla but is expected to be bolder this time around with the Gunners facing a busy schedule in the coming weeks.
All the same, Emery insists he wants to win the competition and is taking the threat posed by the Bees, who are seventh in the Championship, seriously.
“For us, every competition is important and also [this is one] that we can play and find our way in this competition and towards this title,” he told Arsenal.com.
“Also we can give players chances to play, chances to take confidence and minutes in the game.
“For us it is the opportunity to do well in this competition, looking towards the title and look to ask the players for [a] performance. One possibility is to give the players who are playing less in one competition to take minutes and this responsibility going forward.
“We were preparing in pre-season with the young players and every player to give them a chance to show us their confidence and performance.
“Now we are preparing for each match thinking only about our best performance, but we need every player because all the competitions in the season are very long and we need to prepare players and young players also to help us in these moments of the season.”
He added: “Against Brentford I am going to prepare the best performance for us, but I’ll be giving chances and opportunities to the players who are playing less in the competition.
“Also maybe the young players can have opportunities to play in this game if I think it’s the best for us to give them this opportunity of starting in the first XI, but the first thing about the best performance is thinking about winning.”
Here’s our stab at what we think Emery might try tomorrow evening:
Lichtsteiner / Holding / Mustafi / Monreal
Elneny / Guendouzi / Willock
Smith Rowe / Welbeck