A Community Shield victory over Liverpool. An opening day three points. Aubameyang officially extends his contract. Ever since the record 14th FA Cup victory it’s been a strongly positive stretch for the club - which has not been the norm for the past few years. Besides having to see Emi Martinez exit the club it’s been a great run for Mikel Arteta’s side as we begin the schedule crunch.
With a near perfect start to the season, expect Arteta to not disrupt the team and formation. Especially with the League Cup tie against Leicester City on Wednesday coming up and the chance to start a new eleven. After the Fulham match, how much would you really change?
Predicted Starting XI
- Eddie Nketiah
- Bukayo Saka
- Nicolas Pepe
- Joe Willock
- Mohamed Elneny
- William Saliba
- Matt Macey
Notes on the XI:
- Baring a late injury, Arteta would have very little reason to rotate the starting XI. The only change I have from the Fulham match is bringing in Dani Ceballos for Mohamed Elneny. Elneny has performed well and been a surprising re-entry into the starting lineup against Liverpool and Fulham, but Ceballos was clearly brought back this season to continue his partnership with Xhaka. However, Elneny has earned a spot on the bench and it’ll be interesting to see if the club move him during the window or if Arteta sees him as a solid 2nd line center mid option for the Cups and Europa League.
- After a clean sheet against Fulham and going up against a struggling West Ham, the defense is unchanged. With the defensive injuries Arsenal are dealing with it’s fortunate to have this back five in front of Leno. May they all somehow stay healthy.
- Willian shined week one and looks like an excellent piece of business. With him, Pepe & Reiss Nelson all options for the right side an attacking front three, it makes you wonder if Nelson could go out on loan, if Mikel has other formations he would like to utilize more often (such as the 4-2-3-1), or if the clubs wants to keep the numbers assuming injuries will hit the front line eventually during this crammed season.
- On the bench the only new name I’ve brought in this week that wasn’t in the 18 at Fulham is William Saliba for Sead Kolasinac, who has been linked this week with an transfer out of the club.
- I expect a lot of new names in the starting XI for Wednesday against Leicester. Pepe, Nketiah, Saka, Macey, Willock, Torreira, Cedric are all likely options, and could we possibly see Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi in the 18?
How to watch
Saturday (9/19) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on NBC Sports Network.