Arsenal face Leeds United on Monday night, in Mikel Arteta’s first FA Cup game in charge of the team.
Arteta leads Arsenal against Leeds after a difficult start to life as head coach, facing Chelsea and Manchester United in his first three games.
Although the Chelsea match ended in disappointment, there were lots of positives, and the team followed it up with a win over United.
They get a bit of a break from the Premier League action now, facing Championship opposition in the FA Cup. Leeds are top of the table and nailed-on for promotion, so it isn’t going to be easy.
All the same, the cup games give Arteta an opportunity to rotate and rest some of his star players.
Let’s have a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for the Leeds clash.
After Bernd Leno’s clean sheet against Manchester United, we expect Emi Martinez to replace him against Leeds. Unless Arteta has a different plan for his goalkeepers, Martinez is the starter outside the league games.
Arsenal are struggling with injuries in defensive areas, with Calum Chambers the latest absentee. Kieran Tierney is still out, and Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding haven’t played since their injuries.
Holding should return for this match though. He rejoined training recently and featured in the squad against Manchester United. To allow Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz a rest, he and Shkodran Mustafi should start.
Bukayo Saka will play left-back, with Sead Kolasinac just back from his own injury and needing another rest. It’s a tough call whether Hector Bellerin or Ainsley Maitland-Niles start at right-back.
Maitland-Niles needs a rest, but Bellerin is only just back in training. If he feels ready, he should start. It’s very possible it could go the other way though, with Arsenal recently reporting they’re still assessing the problem.
Dani Ceballos returned to the squad against Manchester United after injury, but he’s yet to make an appearance, like Holding. He should start in place of Mesut Özil.
Behind him, Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi will probably replace Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira. Again, the latter pairing need a rest.
Emile Smith Rowe could start in any of the three midfield positions, but we’ve got him down to feature in the forward line instead.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe are seemingly competing for the three Premier League forward spots. It would be surprising to see any of them start here, though Nelson is probably the most likely.
Gabriel Martinelli is back from injury and Emile Smith Rowe is available, and Tyreece John-Jules should get the chance to make his Arsenal debut.
The striker waited a long time for this opportunity. He was meant to start against Nottingham Forest, only to pick up a knock the day before the game. He should definitely at least make the squad.
Our prediction is that he’ll start, but it’s possible Nelson might make the starting lineup, pushing Martinelli up front and Nelson onto the right.