Arsenal will finally be back in front of their fans on Sunday, so let’s take a look at our predicted starting lineup for the Chelsea clash.
With only a couple of friendlies to go until the Premier League season starts, Arsenal and Mikel Arteta are likely to take their upcoming friendlies against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur pretty seriously.
Friendlies or not, they’re also London derbies, so there’s a little bit of pride at stake. Combine that with how little time there is left to prepare for the season and you’d expect Arteta to name a strong lineup to start the match.
At the same time, there are probably still a couple of positions up for grabs in the team to face Brentford, so nothing is nailed-on just yet. Here’s our predicted Arsenal lineup to face Chelsea.
Bernd Leno is back after the Euros, and he needs a game to get up to speed, so he’s likely to take up the spot in goal.
Ben White should have completed his move to Arsenal by Sunday (he hasn’t at the time of writing), but it still might be an ask for him to start the match given the tight turnaround. We’re likely set for another round of pairing Pablo Mari and Rob Holding instead.
In the full-back positions, you’d expect Kieran Tierney and Calum Chambers to be the first-choice options at the moment, though there’s certainly competition from Nuno Tavares, Cedric Soares, and Hector Bellerin – despite rumours of an exit.
Emile Smith Rowe is the only real option for the number 10 position, with Willian still filling in as a backup in that role at the moment. Behind him, Thomas Partey is sure to start, and it might be an opportunity for Albert Sambi Lokonga to make his first start.
Granit Xhaka may well be available again too, with his transfer to AS Roma dragging on. Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Joe Willock are all options too, but Sambi Lokonga did well against Millwall so he’s our prediction to make the side.
With Bukayo Saka not yet back, Gabriel Martinelli away at the Olympics, and Willian filling in at 10, there’s still not much competition for Nicolas Pepe on the right. Reiss Nelson is an option but remains out of favour under Arteta.
In the other two positions, it just feels like Arteta is going to pick Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang together. Folarin Balogun and Eddie Nketiah are the alternatives, with Balogun fresh from his goal in the Millwall game.