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Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Premier League - Predicted Lineup & Bench

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How will Mikel Arteta adjust the starting XI for his managerial home debut?

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

It was a fairly safe lineup from Mikel Arteta in his debut against Bournemouth, with the only surprise being Reiss Nelson ahead of Pepe. Arsenal looked improved on defense, allowing the opponent just four shots on target the entire match - playing with two fill-in fullbacks. However, the Gunners managed just two themselves.

Now, the new man in charge has two massive home tests with Chelsea and Manchester United coming to the Emirates. Three or four points from those two matches would be huge boost for the squad, Arsenal’s season, and Arteta’s start. So how might Mikel adjust the starting XI for Chelsea, considering a number of players remain out or day of decisions.

Check out the gallery below for the predicted starting XI.

Notes on the XI

  • We should see Pepe get his first start under Mikel Arteta, but who makes way? Reiss Nelson seems the most likely candidate, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Aubameyang pushed up top and Lacazette pushed to the bench while Pepe and Nelson play on the wings.
  • In the midfield, Arteta seemed pleased with Xhaka’s display against Bournemouth and I’d expect him to remain in the starting XI to work with the makeshift backline. Against Chelsea the new manager may opt for a midfield partner with a bit more pace, going with Guendouzi or Willock alongside Xhaka.
  • Saka remains the emergency left back option and David Luiz should be looking forward to facing off against his old team. On the right hand side, Hector Bellerin is still a day of decision, which makes it unlikely they risk him from the start against Chelsea. Maitland-Niles fills in again. Hopefully we see Hector back for Manchester United in a few days.
  • Sokratis is out with a concussion. Calum Chambers is available again after serving his yellow card accumulation suspension, and is the safer option to pair with Luiz ahead of Mustafi.

Bench

  1. Emiliano Martinez
  2. Shkodran Mustafi
  3. Hector Bellerin
  4. Joe Willock
  5. Lucas Torreira
  6. Reiss Nelson
  7. Gabriel Martinelli

How to watch

Sunday (12/29) at 9:00 am ET / 6:00 am PT on the NBC Sports Network.