Arsenal travel to Everton on Saturday, with Freddie Ljungberg set to take charge of the match regardless of the appointment of Mikel Arteta.
Mikel Arteta will take over as Arsenal’s long-term head coach soon, but not quite yet. Reports suggest the Spaniard will watch on from the stands at Goodison Park as Arsenal face Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.
In the meantime, Ljungberg remains in charge as interim head coach. It makes sense, as he already spent the week preparing for the weekend game. Bringing someone else in with one day of preparation would be a mistake.
As a result, we don’t expect wholesale changes from the recent first-choice team under Ljungberg. Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the clash.
Bernd Leno should start in goal as usual. Possibly Arsenal’s only consistent performer in the squad, bar Gabriel Martinelli. It’s a bit frustrating for Emi Martinez, but he’ll just have to keep waiting for a chance.
Kieran Tierney out, Rob Holding out, Sead Kolasinac probably out, Hector Bellerin a doubt, every centre-back in poor form. It’s certainly not a fun time to pick an Arsenal defence.
Bukayo Saka will probably have to play at left-back, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back. Sokratis Papastathopoulos is arguably in the worst form of any Arsenal centre-back over the last month or so, and Ljungberg has to drop him at this point.
It’s hard to see anyone deserving to come in for him, but David Luiz is the most likely choice. Calum Chambers was also poor last week but will probably start alongside Luiz. There really aren’t any viable alternatives.
Granit Xhaka is back, and he’ll start. Arsenal still miss him when he’s not playing, however unpopular he became in the latter days of Unai Emery’s tenure. Lucas Torreira should start alongside him, as Matteo Guendouzi struggles for form.
Dani Ceballos still isn’t back, so it’s between Mesut Özil and Emile Smith Rowe for the number 10 role. Özil needs to do much more than he has in the last few games, but it seems unlikely Ljungberg will drop him for Smith Rowe in his last game.
Even though they failed to find the net against Manchester City, the same front three should keep their places. Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
As Ljungberg pointed out in an interview last weekend, the team lack balance when Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette start together. It would be a strange time to drop Aubameyang for Lacazette, given their respective records in away games.