Arsenal face Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday, in the final match of the season and Arsene Wenger’s last game in charge of the club.
2Team news and predicted line-up
We know for sure that five players won’t start: Santi Cazorla, Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Özil and Mohamed Elneny are all recovering from injury problems at the moment. Meanwhile Konstantinos Mavropanos is unavailable after his red card in mid-week.
In goal, I’d expect Petr Cech to start again. It’s unlikely Wenger will suddenly change his goalkeeper policy on the final day.
Hector Bellerin should rejoin the team after his rest in midweek. In the centre of defence I’d expect Calum Chambers, who also got a rest, and Shkodran Mustafi. Per Mertesacker doesn’t look like starting another game and Rob Holding played the full 90 minutes on Wednesday.
At left-back, Nacho Monreal hasn’t played since the trip to Madrid a week and a half ago. Unless he has an injury Wenger isn’t telling us about, the Spaniard should start.
Granit Xhaka is a constant presence in the side, and there aren’t really any replacements for him in the squad, so he’ll start. Jack Wilshere is fighting for a place in the England squad, so he’ll return after missing Wednesday’s match for the birth of his child.
This is Aaron Ramsey’s last chance to play a competitive fixture until next season, since Wales didn’t make the World Cup, so there isn’t really any reason to leave him out.
As for the front three, I’d expect Wenger to go full strength. Like Wilshere, Alexandre Lacazette is fighting for his ticket to Russia, so he won’t want to miss this one. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in fantastic form, and looking to reach double figures for Premier League goals on Sunday.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the only one I can see getting a rest. He’s played quite a lot since returning from injury, and Danny Welbeck also has an England place at stake. It would be classic Arsenal to play a makeshift front three of centre-forwards.
The only alternative is perhaps Welbeck on the left, Lacazette up front and Mkhitaryan on the right, if Wenger favours the balance of the team over playing the in form Aubameyang. That’s very possible.
Next: Final XI