Arsenal face Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, hoping to keep their winning run going and push for the European places.
Realistically, the race for the Champions League is beyond Arsenal’s grasp. Still, the only way they can have an outside chance is by beating Leicester City on Tuesday.
The away side are the only ones looking shaky enough to drop out of the top four. Particularly as they still have Spurs, Manchester United and Sheffield United still to play after Arsenal. But they have a nine-point lead on the Gunners, so that has to drop to six.
Perhaps more importantly, Arsenal need to try and maintain their position in seventh or above to at least secure Europa League football. The fans may not like it, but the money is too important right now.
There are encouraging recent signs for Mikel Arteta’s side, after four straight wins including away victories at Southampton, Sheffield United and Wolves. Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup as Arsenal try to keep that going.
No surprises here, Emi Martinez will start. Bernd Leno is still at least a few weeks away, Matt Macey will make the bench.
This is probably the hardest part of the team to predict. Based on the last three games, Sead Kolasinac, David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi will start, but how long can that last? They presumably can’t start every single game of the upcoming run.
But it’s tough to predict how Mikel Arteta might rotate. Whilst Kolasinac is probably the first to go based on form, he’s also arguably the most vital to the setup, as a left-footed centre-back on the left.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos is available, but after four appearances on the bench, he is up to one minute of football on the pitch. Arteta clearly isn’t his biggest fan. Similarly, Rob Holding dropped out as soon as Luiz returned.
For now, we’ll continue to assume the first-choice trio will start again. But with the North London derby coming up at the weekend, it’s really difficult to say for sure.
Midfield and Wing-Backs
Similar to the centre-backs, Arsenal clearly have a first-choice midfield pairing (Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos), and it’s just a case of waiting to see when they get rests.
Xhaka is crucial to Arsenal’s current setup and rarely seems to need a break, so he’ll probably start anyway. It’s a bit of a toss-up between Ceballos and Joe Willock at this point, but Ceballos did come off early in the last game, so he’ll likely start too.
Lucas Torreira is fit, but I’d expect a few more substitute appearances before starts.
Kieran Tierney also came off early against Wolves, so he should start this one at left-wing-back. Hector Bellerin will probably come back in for Cedric Soares on the right.
After scoring against Wolves, Alexandre Lacazette probably earned another chance in the starting lineup for this one. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should start on the left, though I’d expect him to come off early with Spurs in mind.
After the birth of his child, Nicolas Pepe can slot back in on the right. That leaves the young trio of Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson on the bench for this one.