Arsenal face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday, in their first game after the latest international break.
Arsenal can move back up into third with a win away to Sheffield, but they’re going to have their work cut out for them. Sheffield United may have only won two games since their promotion, but they’ve got a very solid record at the back.
The recently-promoted side have only let in seven goals, four fewer than Arsenal. They drew away to Chelsea and only lost 1-0 against Liverpool. Despite their position towards the bottom of the table, Sheffield United are no pushovers.
Unai Emery’s side have no excuses though. Many of them were rested over the international break and even those who played have been free since Tuesday night at the latest. Emery should be able to pick close to his strongest eleven, which in turn should be enough to win.
Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the match.
Bernd Leno and Emi Martinez both went away with their countries over the international break, even facing off against each other as Germany played Argentina. Neither got onto the pitch for any minutes though.
Leno will probably keep his place in the Premier League, after a clean sheet in his last match against Bournemouth.
Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin are all back in contention now, though Arsenal appear to be taking a more cautious approach with Bellerin at the moment.
Calum Chambers will probably keep his place at right-back in the league for the time being, especially as he’s been playing well. We predict Tierney will get the nod over Sead Kolasinac though.
Unai Emery seems reluctant to break up the centre-back partnership of David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, even though it’s yielded mixed results so far. For now, we expect them to start over Holding and Shkodran Mustafi.
We’re not predicting any surprises in midfield. It’s an away game, so based on recent evidence Unai Emery is unlikely to use Mesut Özil at all. Lucas Torreira and Joe Willock really deserve Premier League opportunities, but it’s hard to see them getting one here.
Instead, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos should start in the middle.
Reiss Nelson is out, but Alexandre Lacazette appears to be back in the fold from now on. Bukayo Saka didn’t join the England u19s despite a call-up, suggesting he may have picked up a knock, but he’s been in full training and Arsenal didn’t include him on the injury list.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are the obvious starters, but Gabriel Martinelli, Saka and Lacazette all have a shot at joining them. Emile Smith Rowe is also back, but he hasn’t even featured in a Premier League squad yet.
With Lacazette only just back and Aubameyang in fantastic form centrally, we expect the Frenchman to stay on the bench for now. It could go either way between Martinelli and Saka, but Saka has been getting the nod recently, so we’ll go with him.