David Luiz, Hector Bellerin and Alexandre Lacazette are expected to return to the Arsenal starting lineup when lock horns with Everton on Saturday evening.
Mikel Arteta’s team pursuit of a much-needed victory continues when they take on Everton at the Goodison Park on Saturday. A win could be crucial as manager Mikel Arteta looks to save his skin following a catastrophic start to the campaign.
However, it should not deter the Spaniard from ringing in a few changes from the squad that drew 1-1 with Southampton in midweek. Hector Bellerin, for one, seems destined to find his way back into the starting lineup, at the expense of Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back.
Mikel Arteta did not offer any hints when asked about his desired candidate to replace the suspended Gabriel Magalhaes at centre-back. ‘Let’s see who we have available tomorrow. Obviously, we’ve lost Gabi now with the red card. We will assess them today and decide who is the best to go and try to beat Everton,’ he told the media during the pre-match press conference.
David Luiz remains the favourite to start, having even featured as a substitute in midweek. He should get the nod ahead of Shkodran Mustafi and Pablo Mari, thereby starting alongside Rob Holding at the heart of the four-man backline.
The remaining defensive positions should be occupied by Kieran Tierney and Bernd Leno, respectively, with the former interchanging between a centre-back and a left-back role in Gunners’ pendulating back-four.
In midfield, the absence of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka gives Mikel Arteta no option but to persist with Dani Ceballos. The on-loan Real Madrid star is yet to impress in the ongoing campaign, but is likely to get the nod ahead of Joe Willock nonetheless. He is set to operate alongside Mohamed Elneny in the double pivot.
Bukayo Saka should occupy the additional midfield slot. Although in all fairness, the Gunners have given him the freedom to operate in a more left-sided attacking role and the Englishman, as a result, has been quite influential.
In the attacking department, however, Mikel Arteta could make important changes. Alexandre Lacazette are expected to make their way back into the starting eleven at the expense of Eddie Nketiah while Nicolas Pepe remains to start on the right-hand channel.
Lacazette’s return could, in fact, force Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to start out wide, unless Mikel Arteta opts for a 4-2-3-1 in which case the Frenchman should occupy the number ten role.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Elneny, Ceballos, Saka; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang