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Blackpool v Arsenal – Will youngsters take chance to shine?

Arsenal are set to ring the changes for their FA Cup tie against Blackpool this afternoon, with a number of youngsters expected to start the match.

Our club is used to blooding youth products in cup competitions such as the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League over the years, and taking on League One’s Blackpool will not deter that philosophy.

The likes of Bukayo Saka, Chris Willock, Emile Smith-Rowe and Eddie Nketieh are all in contention to start the match, while I would expect each of those named to all feature at some point.

The hosts come into the match with only one point from their last five League One outings, with a FA Cup second round win over non-league Solihull Rovers needing extra time for victory amidst that terrible form.

Our side do not come into the match in glowing form either however, with only two wins from our last five outings, but the gulf in class will surely show today.

Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil are expected to be assessed ahead of today’s match, although I do not expect them to risked to start the match, but could well pick up minutes from the bench.

Predicted XI:


Maitland-Niles Elneny Sokratis Kolasinac

Guendouzi Smith-Rowe

Saka Willock NKetieh


I personally think Emery will opt to play one or two experienced players in the line-up in each position, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nketieh benched in favour of Iwobi at the start of the match, or one of Willock or Smith-Rowe starting on the bench in favour of a more experienced man also.

This team should have more than enough in it to beat our lower league rivals, and the team should also have enough to play free and creative football along the way.

I’m going for a 3-1 win for our boys, although there could easily be more against our struggling rivals. I’m also tipping Saka to be the one to watch today, hoping he can make his mark on his fourth first team outing.

Do you think Emery will start his first ever FA Cup tie with more first team players? Which youngster will you be watching most keenly at to impress?


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