Arsenal face Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday night, after defeating a strong Leeds United side in the last round.
The luck of the draw isn’t favouring Arsenal so far, picking out Bournemouth this time. Whilst their big-six rivals faced the likes of Shrewsbury, Tranmere, Fulham and Hull, the Gunners travel to Premier League opposition.
Spurs may have drawn Southampton in this round, but they had the easier tie in the last against Middlesbrough. Meanwhile, Arsenal had to beat a well-drilled Leeds side under Marcelo Bielsa.
Given the gap between matches and the potential importance of a cup run for morale, Arteta should go with a strong team for this one.
Let’s have a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for the match against Bournemouth.
Emi Martinez continues to play the cup matches under Mikel Arteta, just as under Unai Emery. He’ll start in place of Bernd Leno, but the German and Matt Macey should both make the trip.
The good news is that Sokratis Papastathopoulos is back after illness. That makes up for the fact David Luiz is out with a suspension.
Given another Shkodran Mustafi mistake against Chelsea, Rob Holding should get a chance to come in. Calum Chambers is out long-term, so those are the only options until Pablo Mari completes his move.
At left-back, Bukayo Saka is the only option. Tolaji Bola may step up from the academy to make the bench.
Right-back is a much harder call. Does Arteta stick with Hector Bellerin, after the Spaniard performed well against Chelsea, giving him some more minutes? Or does he reward Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ recent form and avoid overplaying Bellerin too soon?
It could go either way, but we’re going to bet on Maitland-Niles.
There are options here, for sure, but we’re not predicting any changes. Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira are building a good partnership and this is a Premier League side Arsenal are facing, not lower-league opposition.
Dani Ceballos is still waiting for a chance, but the rumours around his future and the fact he isn’t even coming off the bench at the moment mean the safer prediction is another start for Mesut Özil.
Matteo Guendouzi started in the last round, but those were different circumstances.
The fan-favourite right now, Gabriel Martinelli is making himself one of the first names on the teamsheet in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s absence through suspension. He should start.
Nicolas Pepe will play on the other side. There aren’t many alternatives on either wing, in all honesty.
Up front, there’s another big call to make. Eddie Nketiah is back and ready, but Alexandre Lacazette is first choice.
If Arsenal had another game in a couple of days, Nketiah would definitely start, but they don’t. They next play on Sunday, almost a full week away. Arteta seems keen to play Lacazette back into goalscoring form as well.