Arsenal face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday, as they push to get back into the Premier League’s top four.
Tottenham Hotspur play Manchester United at the weekend, so Arsenal have the opportunity to either catch up a bit or leave United further behind with a win. The Gunners also don’t want to fall too far behind Chelsea ahead of the match between the two next week.
Most of Unai Emery’s squad have had a week’s rest since the Blackpool game, and some of them have had even more. The likes of Granit Xhaka, Bernd Leno and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang didn’t even travel to Blackpool, so they’ve had a week and a half without a game.
Additionally, six players have returned to full training after injury this week. For once, Emery has a large number of options at his disposal. Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the fixture.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Against Fulham, Arsenal started a back-three, but the choice of formation was largely because of a few injuries and absences, most notably Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira (rested) and Mesut Özil.
Unai Emery reverted to a back-four in the second half of that match, as well as against Blackpool, so we expect him to do the same against West Ham.
Hector Bellerin should come straight back into the team after his return to full training. There’s no doubt he’s been one of Arsenal’s top performers this season, whilst Stephan Lichtsteiner is on a poor run of form and Ainsley Maitland-Niles looks better as a wing-back.
In the middle, Sokratis Papastathopoulos should keep his place, so the question is just which of the three centre-backs returning from injury will partner him (four if you include Nacho Monreal).
Konstantinos Mavropanos seems unlikely to be thrown in after so many months out. Shkodran Mustafi seems to be suffering from a recurring injury, after being subbed off early in all three of his recent starts, so he’ll probably be eased back in from the bench. Laurent Koscielny makes the most sense to start this one.
On the left, Sead Kolasinac is in good form, so he should keep his place. However, it’s great to have Monreal back as an alternative option, and if all goes well he’ll probably come on later in the game to give Kolasinac some rest.
In goal, Bernd Leno should keep his place after Petr Cech’s start in the FA Cup.
Click ‘Next’ for Midfield, Forwards and the full Predicted Starting XI