Another win for the Arsenal (even if it was a rough opening hour). That’s seven wins from the opening nine matches of the season for the team with a home contest against Leicester City next up on the schedule. Both clubs are on nine points with three wins and two losses. A win on Sunday would lift Arsenal into the top four, but it’ll be a quick turnaround for both sides who played in the Europa League on Thursday.
We await to hear a team update tomorrow, but we know Rob Holding has been added to the official injury list and Shkodran Mustafi is back available for selection. Emile Smith Rowe has been cleared to start for the U23s, but didn’t make the cut for the Europa League match on Thursday. The main questions on Saturday’s update will be the status of Dani Ceballos, Willian and to confirm that Bukayo Saka didn’t pick up anything from the last match that might rule him out for Sunday. On to the prediction.
Predicted Starting XI
- Eddie Nketiah
- Bukayo Saka
- Reiss Nelson
- Joe Willock
- Mohamed Elneny
- Shkodran Mustafi
- Alex Runarsson
Notes on the XI:
- Left Out: Willian, Dani Ceballos, Sead Kolasinac, William Saliba & Cedric Soares
- Injured: Rob Holding, Emile Smith Rowe, Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli & Calum Chambers. (That’s the official list at the moment, even though Smith Rowe has been cleared to play for the U23s.)
- Thursday showed us that Arteta wants to keep as close to a strongest XI as possible, knowing that some rotation is required and players need minutes. But he wasn’t interested in a clear 2nd XI in the Europa League opener. Now it was a road game, against perhaps the group’s strongest opponent for Arsenal, and he was likely looking to set the tone in the competition. For Sunday, he will want his strongest XI possible. And he’ll get it with the exception of Bukayo Saka (at LM/LWB?) and potential injury limitations (Dani).
- For now I’ve left Willian and Dani Ceballos out of the XI and the bench since we don’t know if they will be fit and available. Today was going to be their first day back training to see what they can offer Sunday. Thus I’ve brought in Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock for the bench.
- The XI seemingly picks itself at that point. A front three of Auba, Laca and Pepe. A midfield duo of Xhaka and Partey. Hector and Ainsley as the wide midfielders and dropping into a back five when needed. Tierney takes up the role on the left of the CB trio, often functioning as LB, while the only two senior and in form CBs available join him in the back - David Luiz and Gabriel.
- On the bench, Mustafi steps in as the centerback coverage over Kolasinac (see next Thursday) and William Saliba (more U23s for him this weekend you’d imagine). Cedric struggled in Austria on Thursday and needs a rest/moment away from the spotlight before in theory returning in the next Europa League tie. Meanwhile the combination of Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, Saka, and Tierney can cover the full-back, wing-back, wide midfield roles that Arteta likes to deploy.
How to watch
Sunday (10/25) at 3:15 pm ET / 12:15 pm PT on Peacock Premium.