As Arsenal have already qualified for the Champions League knockout rounds, Arsene Wenger is preparing for some of his promising youngsters to gain experience in the cauldron of a tie in Galatasary. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who himself has only recently become a regular in the Gunners first team, believes that players like Chuba Akpom, Alex Iwobi, Glen Kamara, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Stefan O’Connor and Gedion Zelalem will benefit from the experience and can step up if given the opportunity.
“All young players have to start somewhere and you have to be challenged at some point, so if they have the opportunity to play they have a chance to prove they are capable,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said on Arsenal.com.
“From what I have seen, they have all got good quality, they are all good lads and I am sure they will be up for the challenge and trying to prove to the boss they are good players.
“The pressures of the game at this level can be different for everyone but when you’re young you do play with no fear and that can be the best way to approach a big stage like the Champions League.
“The boys who have been here before have a responsibility to help the young ones to get through the game and cope with it.”
The good news is that Martin Debuchy and Wojciech Szczesny are able to return to action, and fringe players like Podolski and Campbell and Sanogo also get the chance to impress Le Boss, but I am worried that the mass of non match-fit players will not have the cohesion expected of an Arsenal side. Look what happened against Southampton in the League Cup….