WENGER’S PRAY­ING HIS ARSE IS IN SAFE HANDS

Midweek Sport - - SPORTS -

ARSENE WENGER will be hop­ing rookie keeper Emil­iano Martinez doesn’t con­cede as many as the last time they gave him a game.

The Gun­ners have a goal­keep­ing cri­sis as first-choice Wo­j­ciech Szczesny is banned fol­low­ing his red card in the 4-1 win over Galatasaray and ex­pe­ri­enced back-up David Ospina is side­lined with a thigh in­jury.

That means Martinez will be thrust in at the deep end in Bel­gium tonight – and a com­plete un­known will be on the bench.

Argie Martinez, 22, has only been picked twice be­fore by Gun­ners boss Wenger.

And his most re­cent out­ing saw him let in FIVE goals in an ex­tra­or­di­nary League Cup match at Read­ing.

That night two years ago saw the Roy­als speed into a 4-0 lead, only for Arse­nal to hit back and win 7-5 after ex­tra time.

Martinez has since had a loan spell with Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, play­ing 15 times for the Cham­pi­onship side last year.

Op­tions

The An­der­lecht clash is by far the big­gest game he’s been in­volved in – and that will also be the case for who­ever is on the bench. Wenger will have to choose be­tween youth team op­tions Ryan Hud­dart, Josh Vick­ers and Matt Macey, who were all called up to train with the first team yes­ter­day.

Sev­en­teen-year-old Hud­dart – squad No.43 – is the lad ex­pected to be given the nod for bench duty.

Mid­fielder Aaron Ram­sey is ex­pected to make his first start in a month after the Wales in­ter­na­tional came off the bench

ALMOST READY: Wal­cott dur­ing Satur­day’s 2-2 draw at home to Hull.

Theo Wal­cott is also train­ing with the first team fol­low­ing nine months out with rup­tured knee lig­a­ments sus­tained against Tot­ten­ham in Jan­uary.

He played 45 min­utes for the re­serves on Fri­day night but is not ex­pected to fea­ture against An­der­lecht.

Both sides have made dis­tinctly av­er­age starts to their Cham­pi­ons League cam­paigns, be­ing well beaten by Borus­sia Dort­mund, while An­der­lecht could only man­age a 1-1 draw with Galatasaray in Turkey.

Arse­nal are weigh­ing up a Jan­uary bid for Ar­gentina striker Gon­zalo Higuain.

Wenger tried to sign him two sum­mers ago but was too slow and the Real Madrid man de­cided to join Napoli.

NOT FAIR: Taarabt has ac­cused his man­ager of try­ing to turn the Rangers fans against him

BIG CHANCE: Emil­iano Martinez

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