According to this report from the Daily Star, Arsene Wenger has released his starting XI already ahead of tomorrow nights Champions League fixture with Galatasaray.
Whether it’s just the Star making assumptions from the traveling squad it remains to be seen, but a number of senior players including newly fit Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Wojciech Szczesny have been named at the back with Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini ahead in midfield.
Wenger has left Laurent Koscielny, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck at home with one eye on this weekends home tie against Newcastle United, meaning Joel Campbell and Lukas Podolski can expect to start with Yaya Sanogo leading the line.
A host of youngsters are among the bench with a certain Gedion Zelalem the most familiar of the starlets. The surprise omission is Tomas Rosicky who recently suffered an injury in training. Bad luck for the Czech.
Wenger said on the youngsters he’s selected this evening:
Some are closer [to the first team], like Chuba Akpom who you know already. You have Gedion Zelalem who you will certainly already know.
We have maybe two other players who are now making big strides forward – Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is very good, and Stefan O’Connor, the centre back, who looks very promising in training.
Should be an interesting match. We’ve certainly got the players to do the job as there is a glimmer of hope that we can still top the group. The main worry is whether Mertesacker, Ramsey etc can make it out unscathed. Last thing we need is further setbacks but as you can see the squad is incredibly depleted.
Here is the proposed team sheet:
Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Bellerin, Ramsey, Flamini, Chamberlain, Campbell, Sanogo, Podolski.
Subs: Akpom, Zelalem, Kamara, O’Connor, Iwobi and Maitland-Niles.