Arsenal make the trip to Bloomfield Road for the first time since 2011 when they face Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup. The Gunners returned to winning ways with a 4-1 triumph over Fulham on New Year’s Day and they should fancy a routine triumph over the Seasiders this weekend, given their opponents’ recent struggles in League One.
Petr Cech has become the club’s second-choice goalkeeper since his return from a hamstring injury during the month of October. He should start between the sticks against Blackpool.
In the defence, Emery could revert to the traditional four-man backline. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac have been the usual picks for the full-back positions amid the recent injury crisis but the manager may consider giving them a breather after featuring regularly during the festive period.
In their places, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson are probable candidates to slot into the right and left side of the defence respectively. Meanwhile, the same case may not be applicable at the heart of the backline where the Gunners have been left with no senior options on the bench after the recent knock for Shkodran Mustafi. In this case, Laurent Koscienly and Sokratis seem the automatic picks to slot into the central defensive positions.
Onto the midfield, Mohamed Elneny seems an indisputable pick, given he has generally featured in the Cup competitions this term. Alongside him, Lucas Torreira could get the nod after participating for only 45 minutes of the recent London derby win over Fulham.
Further forward, we are anticipating Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette to retain their positions from the Fulham triumph and they could feature on the left and right side of the attack respectively.
Elsewhere, Aaron Ramsey may take up the central attacking midfield role after his match-defining goal against Fulham off the bench while Eddie Nketiah could be tasked to lead the line with top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang probably coming on if required.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Cech; Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny, Jenkinson; Elneny, Torreira; Iwobi, Ramsey, Lacazette; Nketiah
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