Former Arsenal player Charlie Nicholas wants Nicholas Pepe to be given his first start of the season against Liverpool on Saturday evening.
The TV pundit believes Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz and Nacho Monreal should be named as the backline while manager Unai Emery should shift the front six around, and go for a more offensive line up. He told Sporting Life:
“I would much rather he went a bit more attacking, and I’d go with the same back four with Mateo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira holding, Dani Ceballos in front of those two and a front three of Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette.”
“They need to get on the ball and make things happen. If you go at Liverpool they are not as good at the back and could show weakness. If Arsenal pin Liverpool back then it can give us hope. But they’re so strong at home this Liverpool team that I am expecting them to win this game.”
The security of Guendouzi and Torreira in the middle of the park is a sensible precaution considering the difficulties of playing at Anfield, while that front three will certainly cause Liverpool’s defence major problems.
Still, doubts linger over the Gunners’ backline and the fact that Nicholas has gone for a 3-1 win to the Reds as his prediction suggests he is still very worried about the team’s frailties.
The firepower that Arsenal can employ, though, should make this game a close affair if that is, they don’t get overawed by the atmosphere. Keeping their heads will be crucial to getting a result on Merseyside.