Arsene Wenger is set to make a raft of changes when Arsenal travel to Belarus to take on Bate Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday owing to tight schedule of fixtures this week.
The Gunners played West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Monday night (25 September). They play Borisov on Thursday night and then welcome Brighton to the Emirates Stadium two and a half days later.
The French coach has made it clear that the league is Arsenal's main priority and will look to keep his regular starting XI as fresh as possible for their encounter against Brighton on Sunday (1 October). The manager confirmed that there will be a number of youth team players in the traveling party heading to Belarus.
Seven youngsters could be in line to make the squad alongside other first-team members, who are not afforded regular game time in the Premier League. Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Matt Macey, Chuba Akpom, Josh Dasilva, Eddie Nketiah and Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be involved when Arsenal take on Borisov.
Six of the aforementioned seven players are regulars in the Under-23 squad, but were all omitted from the Arsenal reserves' 4-2 loss at the hands of Everton on Monday (25 September). Maitland-Niles, on the other hand, was named in the squad that faced West Brom and even came on as an injury time substitute. He is likely to start the game against the Belarusian club on Thursday.
Apart from the seven youngsters, Wenger will use first-team members, who have struggled for game time in the league. Jack Wilshere is certain to make his second start of the campaign, with Olivier Giroud, Per Mertesacker, Alex Iwobi, David Ospina and Theo Walcott also likely to be involved from the start. Mesut Ozil could also be involved after the midfielder played just 10 minutes against the Baggies after returning from a knee injury.