Smith Rowe to start – How Arsenal could line up against Nottingham Forest

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will likely restore Emile Smith Rowe to his starting XI as the Gunners commence their FA Cup campaign against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Smith Rowe hasn’t started a Premier League match for Arsenal since the start of December due to the team going on a decent run of form before the loss against Manchester City last week.

Prior to that loss, they won three in a row against West Ham, Leeds and Norwich.


Arteta will use the FA Cup clash to rotate his squad slightly, but his hands are tied somewhat due to a number of absences.

Pierre-Emerick Aubamyang, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe are all away at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Aubameyang has been exiled from the squad anyway.

Calum Chambers and Eddie Nketiah are both doubts due to coronavirus isolation.

Bernd Leno will be given a run out in goal, replacing number one Aaron Ramsdale.

Cedric will come in at right-back in a back four alongside Ben White, Rob Holding and Nuno Tavarez, with Kieran Tierney rested.

Arteta only has two senior central midfielders in the squad currently in Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga so they’ll start.

Wonderkid Charlie Patino might be given another chance to impress by being deployed just behind the lone striker Gabriel Martinelli.

Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka will feature on the wings.

Alexandre Lacazette will probably be rested as he has played lots of football recently, while Folarin Balogun won’t play as he is on the cusp of a loan move to Middlesbrough.

Predicted Arsenal XI v Nottingham Forest

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