Plus of course we are going to see some of the kiddies – at least if previous opening games are anything to go by.  Ainsley Maitland Niles is of course now part of the first team squad, but we should also see Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, and Joe Willock who were all pushing through last season.

Jordi Osei-Tutu’s name is being mentioned in dispatches along with Chuba Akpom.  Chuba is a man of constant loans, the latest being for a season in the Belgium top division.  Here’s the history

Years Team Games Goals
2013- Arsenal 4
2014 Brentford (loan) 4
2014 Coventry City (loan) 6
2014 Nottingham Forest (loan) 7
2015/6 Hull City (loan) 36 3
2017 Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) 10
2018 Sint-Truiden (loan) 16 6

Internationally he is a player who has played for England under 21 but is said to be considering playing in future for Nigeria for whom he also qualifies.

Osei-Tutu came to Arsenal in 2015 from Reading for a fee that was reported at the time of being around £100,000.  He is a right back, but also plays in central defence and has occasionally being spotted venturing up the right wing.

Certainly players from last year’s under 23 team in PL2 will be looking for chances this season having turned the form of previous years around, to win the league…

P W D L F A Pts
1. Arsenal U23 22 13 3 6 32 32 42
2. Liverpool U23 22 13 1 8 27 27 40
3. Leicester U23 22 11 6 5 20 20 39
4. Swansea U23 22 11 4 7 31 31 37
5. West Ham U23 22 9 4 9 32 32 31
6. Manchester City U23 22 8 6 8 31 31 30
7. Everton U23 22 9 3 10 36 36 30
8. Chelsea U23 22 8 5 9 35 35 29
9. Tottenham U23 22 7 5 10 48 48 26
10. Derby U23 22 7 3 12 44 44 24
11. Sunderland U23 22 6 4 12 39 39 22
12. Manchester Utd U23 22 4 8 10 40 40 20

So can we pick a squad?

It is a bit of a mug’s game not least because two teams will play – a different group in each half, but try this

Goal

Cech, Leno, Martinez

Right back

Bellerin, Osei-Tutu, Jenkinson

Centre back (2)

Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding, Chambers, Mavropanos

Left back

Kolasinac, Monreal

Midfield defence

Ramsey, Maitland-Niles

Midfield attack (2)

Reine-Adelaide, Smith-Rowe, Guendouzi, Nelson, Willock

Attack (3)

Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Akpom, Nketiah, Perez, Akpom

That gives us enough for a different team in each half and a small number of players to come on as second half subs so as to feel part of the plot.  Anyone from this list who is not injured and doesn’t get to be involved will be struggling to be part of the squad this season, even for cup games.

Isn’t it good to have football back!

Read all about it

Arsenal in the summer: why a poor pre-season could be just what we want.

Boreham Wood v Arsenal all the players we’ll see plus videos of recent encounters.

As the season starts: Update on Arsenal Youngsters, Women and the PGMO referees

Boreham Wood v Arsenal. Football’s coming home. At last.