Arsenal take on West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, looking to build on their opening-day victory over Fulham so how will they lineup?
Arsenal got off to a great start in the Premier League with a 3-0 win at Craven Cottage, but they need another one at home to West Ham this weekend.
The Gunners have a really tough run of fixtures coming up, so they can’t afford to drop points at this stage. West Ham are having huge difficulties at the moment, so nothing less than a win should be acceptable.
Let’s have a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup to face West Ham.
There isn’t really any choice here anymore, sadly. Without Emi Martinez, Bernd Leno will certainly start. That’s not a bad thing, he put in a good performance against Fulham. But Arsenal are lacking a real alternative at the moment.
This is another area of the pitch where Arsenal aren’t going to have many options. Gabriel Magalhaes will probably start alongside Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding, with Mikel Arteta easing William Saliba in slowly.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi are all out with various injury problems.
Midfield and Wing-Backs
This is one of few areas where I’m expecting Arsenal to make a change. As well as Mohamed Elneny did away at Fulham, I think Dani Ceballos will come in for the Egyptian. He looked good in his cameo on Saturday and is surely Arteta’s preference.
Granit Xhaka will start alongside him, as usual. With Tierney in the back three, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the first choice for the left-hand side. Hector Bellerin performed very well against Fulham and will remain on the right.
Sead Kolasinac is slowly edging towards an exit, and arguably even Bukayo Saka should be ahead of him in Arteta’s current left-wing-back hierarchy.
Unfortunately, it looks like more time on the bench or at home for Mesut Özil, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock, Matteo Guendouzi and Emile Smith Rowe (who has an injury).
It’s harsh on the alternatives, but I think Arteta is going to stick with the same front three as against Fulham. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette both scored, whilst Willian provided a couple of debut assists.
I still believe it’s possible Arteta will try and fit Aubameyang, Lacazette, Willian and Pepe into a single team at some stage. But not quite yet, there’s too much uncertainty with the squad to switch up the system.
As for Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah, they’ll have to settle for substitute opportunities. To be fair, many of those who miss out on this game should get a chance in the League Cup a few days afterwards.
Gabriel Martinelli is still out, most likely for the rest of the year.