After defeat to Hibernian FC, Arsenal are preparing to face Rangers in their second pre-season fixture, so let’s take a look at our predicted lineup for the match.
As expected in their first pre-season fixture, Arsenal made plenty of changes throughout the match to ensure everybody on the bench got at least a few minutes.
You’d expect the same against Rangers, but we’re predicting Mikel Arteta will start a team more similar to the one that finished the match against Hibernian, so they all get a chance to compete in a first-half against fresher opponents.
That said, here’s our predicted Arsenal lineup to face Rangers on Saturday.
We now know Arsenal have brought a batch of youth goalkeepers on the trip, including Arthur Okonkwo, Karl Hein, James Hillson, and Tom Smith.
The likes of Runar Alex Runarsson and Dejan Iliev appear to have been left behind, possibly to secure transfers.
Our prediction is that Hein and Okonkwo will continue to get chances though, with Hillson and Smith acting as the backups, as that seems to be the hierarchy within the academy. So we’re picking Hein for a start in goal.
Nuno Tavares’ paperwork should be sorted by the time this game comes around, so that gives him a chance to feature from the start for his new club.
On the other side, Hector Bellerin only played the final 27 minutes against Hibs, so he’ll likely get a chance to start.
At centre-back, Arsenal have a bit of a problem, because so few senior defenders have made the trip. Pablo Mari is really the only one, and he played the entire 90 minutes against Hibs.
As a result, we may be set to see youth players Harry Clarke and Omar Rekik starting together.
After Mohamed Elneny made a 75-minute appearance and with Jack Henry-Francis unlikely to start (as well as he played against Hibs), we’ll probably see Thomas Partey and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the middle – as they only played 45 minutes each on Tuesday.
Arsenal played somewhat of a front four against Hibs, with two wide players and two up front. All eight players only played a half each in that match, so it’s feasible that any four of them could make a start.
Our guess is that Arteta will start this match as he finished that one, with Folarin Balogun and Alexandre Lacazette backed up by Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe.
Predicted Arsenal lineup to face Rangers