Folarin Balogun gets a rare opportunity to lead the line for Arsenal as striker and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misses out alongside Alexandre Lacazette.
Mikel Arteta has put his faith in young Folarin Balogun to lead the line in the absence of all three senior strikers at the club. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misses out alongside Alexandre Lacazette due to an illness, while Eddie Nketiah is out for up to four weeks with an injury.
Bernd Leno, as expected, starts in between the posts and will be protected by a back four of Calum Chambers at right-back, debutant Ben White and Pablo Mari marshalling the central defence, with Kieran Tierney on at left-back.
Introducing our first starting XI of 2021/22…
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In central midfield, Granit Xhaka starts alongside debutant Albert Sambi Lokonga in place of the injured Thomas Partey, while Mohamed Elneny is only fit enough for a role on the bench. After the departure of Joe Willock to Newcastle United earlier today, Arteta has placed Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the bench.
Behind Balogun, there is a young and exciting attacking line comprising Gabriel Martinelli on the left, Emile Smith Rowe in the centre and Nicolas Pepe on the right-hand side. Bukayo Saka, who only returned last week from his holidays, is fit enough for a bench role, while Reiss Nelson also features there. The Arsenal bench also features Rob Holding, Cedric Soares and new left-back Nuno Tavares.
Arsenal Starting Lineup: Leno, Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney, Sambi, Xhaka, Pepe, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Balogun