Mikel Arteta’s decision to field a team full of senior first team players against League One side AFC Wimbledon was carefully thought out, in the same way many decisions have been since the Spaniard took over as manager.
Arteta was expected to include several youngsters in the squad to face Wimbledon but Thomas Partey’s eagerness to sharpen his match fitness ahead of Sunday’s north London derby saw the Ghanaian included ahead of 17-year-old Charlie Patino and 20-year-old Tim Akinola.
A comprehensive 3-0 victory followed with Alexandre Lacazette captaining an experienced Arsenal side, before further goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah sealed the win.
“He was captain because he’s one of our leaders and senior players,” said Arteta after the game.
“We haven’t been able to play him a lot. Last week I wanted to play him but we had some injuries through the game and we couldn’t use him. Today he scored a goal and he worked hard again.”
Whilst it was an opportunity for players to get minutes who wouldn’t usually start, there were a few tell-tale signs over what kind of starting line-up Arteta is likely to field against Tottenham this weekend.