Arsenal team news: Wenger chooses reserve-heavy XI vs BATE

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BEN STANSALL
The Gunners manager has given a number of second-choice players an opportunity for the Europa League trip to Belarus

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has chosen a reserve-heavy starting line-up for the Gunners' trip to face BATE Borisov in Europa League action.

Wenger has opted to hand 18-year-old Joe Willock his first senior start while Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles make up a young-looking XI.

The Frenchman said in his pre-match press conference that he would field an experienced team against BATE, with the likes of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and the returning Jack Wilshere all featuring in Belarus.

Gunners captain Per Mertesacker starts in defence alongside Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding, while Mohamed Elneny is expected to partner Willock in midfield which will give Wilshere licence to roam forward.

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A young substitutes bench includes 18-year-olds Charlie Gilmour, Eddie Nketiah and Vlad Dragomir, making the average age of the bench just 19.

Arsenal XI: Ospina; Mustafi, Mertesacker, Holding; Nelson, Willock, Elneny, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Giroud.

Subs: Macey, Dasilva, Gilmour, McGuane, Dragomir, Akpom, Nketiah

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