Arsenal take on Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium back in the Premier League on Sunday, ahead of the October international break.
After a couple of trips to Anfield in the Premier League and in the League Cup, Arsenal are returning to London to try and get their league form back on track.
Thankfully, the Gunners are far from the only team to drop points so far. The two Manchester clubs have also lost a game already, whilst Spurs and Chelsea have lost one and drawn one. So Arsenal need to maintain their current advantage with a win this weekend.
Just as a quick disclaimer, it’s the final week of the transfer window right now. Arsenal may well make a signing before Sunday’s match, but for the purposes of this prediction, we’re assuming they haven’t yet.
That said, let’s look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for the Sheffield United clash.
Once again, we’re predicting Bernd Leno to start in goal. This isn’t exactly a difficult call at the moment. Until the German international picks up an injury or suffer a severe lapse in form, he’s going to keep his place for the league games.
It seems pretty likely Arteta sticks with a back three for now, in the absence of any new midfield signings. Kieran Tierney will probably start on the left, with Rob Holding the most likely on the right.
It’s a toss-up between Gabriel Magalhaes and David Luiz in the middle, but Gabriel is surely winning that battle on form right now.
William Saliba is still easing into first-team contention and Sokratis is returning from injury but closing in on a transfer. Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are out with injuries.
Midfield and Wing-Backs
For a game like this, I think you have to go with Bukayo Saka at left-wing-back. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the superior defender, but Saka is usually the man you want to unlock an opposition backline.
Given Sheffield United have zero goals in three games, picking the right players to break them down is surely the priority.
Hector Bellerin will start on the right, with Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos the most likely in the middle. Again, the likes of Mohamed Elneny and Lucas Torreira (if he’s still here) are players you pick when defending is the priority.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are both likely to start, as usual. I still feel like Willian has the edge over Nicolas Pepe in Mikel Arteta’s thinking right now.
Perhaps that could change before Sunday, but I think we’ll see the same front three as against Liverpool. That means Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah will also miss out on the starting lineup. Gabriel Martinelli is the only forward recovering from an injury.