Unai Emery left Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe out of Arsenal’s starting line-up for the Gunners’ Premier League season opener against Newcastle United, while deadline-day signing David Luiz also had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench.
Lacazette suffered an ankle injury during Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Lyon in a pre-season friendly on July 28 and head coach Emery has opted not to rush him back into action at St. James’ Park.
Pepe, who joined from Lille in a deal that could reportedly be worth £72million, did not feature in any of Arsenal’s pre-season friendlies and Emery said before the game that the Ivory Coast international needs “more minutes” before he can play.
Emery said defender David Luiz, who signed just before the transfer window closed to complete the club’s close-season acquisitions, “did a pre-season but not with us”, as he explained the decision to start with the Brazilian on the bench.
Winger Reiss Nelson was named in Emery’s XI along with fellow academy product Joe Willock, giving the Gunners two English teenagers in their starting line-up for a Premier League match for the first time since February 1998, when Paolo Vernazza and Matthew Upson faced Crystal Palace.
2 – Arsenal have named two English teenagers (Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson) in their starting XI for a Premier League game for the first time since February 1998 (Paolo Vernazza and Matthew Upson vs Crystal Palace), before either Willock or Nelson were born. Future. pic.twitter.com/pmoSSEmLN4
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 11, 2019
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