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No Youngsters at the Hawthorns as Arteta faces a MUST win League Cup Banana Skin

Ticket details for Carabao Cup clash with Arsenal | West Bromwich Albion

I have genuine mixed feelings about the tough away tie at the Hawthorns tomorrow night. In the past, unlike with the FA Cup, I have relished the opportunity to see our manager blood youngsters in the League Cup and also offer the chance for those in the first team squad, on the fringes, to press their claim.

However, with injury woes and on the back of 2 Premier League defeats, and limp, toothless displays, Arteta and his team simply must win against a highflying Championship title contender. Heading to the home of the Champions this weekend, having suffered the ignominy of exiting a cup, at a stage that Arsenal have not even entered at this century is unthinkable.

It was these thoughts yesterday that promoted this Twitter Poll, and he fact that over 5000 voted suggests it is not only my mind the selection dilemma is playing on. The question was whether Arteta needed to play his first team against WBA or play the usual blend of kids and fringe. Interestingly over 63% feel the under-pressure Arsenal manager cannot take risks and has to go for a strong team for the Midlands trip.

Of course, the truth will probably be somewhere in between, and many of he comments suggested so. The Spaniard is fortunate perhaps that he does have players who are or could easily first team starters available to start at the Hawthorns, who were not available against Chelsea. Certainly, Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard will come in, and with goal threat minimal so far this season, Aubameyang and Lacazette will surely be involved. Bukayo Saka too, still looks rusty and leggy so needs the game time, if not for the whole 90.

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Debut

Whilst not a huge fan of Aubameyang on the left, I think he will start there with Lacazette, assuming he has recovered, starting through the middle. Odegaard will come in at 10, allowing his relationship with Saka, back on the right that worked well last season to be renewed. I think Arteta can give Nuno Tavares a first start at left back, resting Tierney, and the Portuguese can rampage on the left allowing his captain to play closer to Lacazette, relieved of creative left-wing responsibility.

Nuno

First start for Nuno

As was the case last season, with our left back being so advanced, I believe Arteta, will ask Xhaka to continue on the left of the double pivot, and he will ask Elneny to partner the Swiss, to rest Lokonga. I would be happy is the role went to Maitland-Niles, but I can’t see it. This is where in normal circumstances we would all have hoped to see Miguel Azeez, play with an experienced partner, but I think the circumstances mean the exciting youngster will have to make do with the bench. If things go well, we can hope to see him in the second half.

Azeez

Sadly not tomorrow

Assuming Gabriel is still not fit and White out with COVid, it will be Mari and Holding again but I think if he does select Tavares, he will counter-balance that by playing Chambers over Cedric or Bellerin, so Chambers can make it a back three when required. West Brom are operating with a 343 so Furlong and Townsend as wingbacks so both Saka, which he failed to do on occasions versus Chelsea and Aubameyang, if they are our wide players, will have to support their full backs.

I hope aside from Azeez, we might see one or two other youngsters on the bench, such as Taylor-Hart and Rekik, but I am not holding my breath on that. If we win through, perhaps we might get a more favourable draw, and with confidence higher, we can see the youth blended in.

COYG

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2 Responses to No Youngsters at the Hawthorns as Arteta faces a MUST win League Cup Banana Skin

  1. Neil Fitt August 24, 2021 at 6:38 pm #

    Just hoping for a win

  2. allezkev August 24, 2021 at 9:53 pm #

    West Brom are a good side so playing them is almost as good as playing one of the lesser lights in the Prem, of which we’re currently one of, so yes, I totally agree Dave, we need a strong team, a strong performance and a good win to raise the morale of our players, fans, club and coaching staff, we need a win big time.

    The irony is I’ve read the West Brom manager saying that he’s going to use this game to give some of his fringe players a game and to have a look at some of his youngsters…

    Isn’t that what we used to do…?!

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