Arsenal travel to Sheffield United in the quarter-final of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon. Here are five key players to watch ahead of the evenly balanced tie.
After three Premier League fixtures upon English football’s return, Arsenal now turn their attention to a competition that has served them well over the years. A turbulent couple of weeks ends with a trip to Bramall Lane and Sheffield United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. With the Gunners’ Premier League hopes fading, the FA Cup grows in importance and Mikel Arteta will be keen to earn his first trophy as head coach.
Here are five key players to watch.
5. Reiss Nelson
The stacked schedule of the season’s restart was always going to offer up opportunities for some of the younger players in the squad. Arteta would need to rotate through his squad as games come thick and fast, and with five substitutes to hand, too, he would have more opportunity to hand young players opportunities.
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One such player is Reiss Nelson, who Arteta has spoken extremely highly of. The winger is challenging Nicolas Pepe as the starting right-winger but has struggled to gain much regular playing time this season. Meanwhile, fellow academy graduates Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah are regular starters. That will irk Nelson.
The FA Cup presents Arteta with the option to insert his young players into a meaningful match without suffering the consequences of a loss. Of course, Arsenal want to win, but unlike in the Premier League, it is not quite the same disaster. Perhaps Nelson could be handed a starting role, then. If he does, can he take it?