Arsenal face West Ham United on Monday, looking for a win after nine consecutive games without one.
The timing of the Arsenal trip to West Ham isn’t exactly ideal. The Gunners play the Hammers on Monday before travelling to Belgium for an important Europa League clash on Thursday.
All the same, Freddie Ljungberg can’t afford to think too many steps in advance right now. He just needs to get a win on the board and bring some confidence back. Whilst we’d expect a few changes from last Thursday’s game, they won’t be wholesale.
Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup and any team news ahead of the game.
Bernd Leno will start, after another seven saves in the defeat to Brighton. Emi Martinez is likely to return to the starting lineup in the Standard Liege game later in the week.
We predict Kieran Tierney will return to the starting lineup, after a couple of games on the bench. It seems Sead Kolasinac is the preferred option for Freddie, for whatever reason, but he’s just started two games in a row and can start on Thursday.
Calum Chambers should come back in on the right, as Arsenal won’t want to overplay Hector Bellerin. Rob Holding remains mysteriously absent, with the club not making any comment on four consecutive missed games now.
It’s possible Shkodran Mustafi returns to the starting lineup. However, after Ljungberg left the German out completely against Brighton, it seems more likely David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will keep their places.
Granit Xhaka played 90 minutes for the third game in a row on Saturday. He needs a rest and would be better off starting against Liege anyway. That opens up a spot for Matteo Guendouzi to return to the team alongside Lucas Torreira.
With Dani Ceballos still out for another week or so, Mesut Özil is the only likely candidate for the number 10 role. Joe Willock is out of form and despite Emile Smith Rowe’s excellent performances for the u23s, he isn’t getting a chance in the first team right now.
Nicolas Pepe should finally return, as Arsenal don’t have enough in-form and rested midfielders to persist with the system Ljungberg used in his first two games. He should be in the first-choice team anyway right now.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will also start. Ljungberg doesn’t seem willing to drop them yet. Gabriel Martinelli is the most likely to replace one of them if he does.