Arsenal host relegation-threatened Burnley at the Emirates with Unai Emery set to play Granit Xhaka in defence again, while Mesut Ozil is in contention to feature.
Arsenal have a task at hand and will find it necessary to beat visiting Burnley at the Emirates and put consecutive loses against Southampton and Tottenham behind them. Before the Southampton defeat, the Gunners were on a terrific 22-game unbeaten run, but the end of the streak has set them back considerably.
Emery has concerns all over the pitch as his forwards were unable to score a goal in their 0-2 defeat to Tottenham, while his injury-riddled defence is leaking goals more frequently. Arsenal’s defence has been under a cloud due to recent injuries, with first-team regulars Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi all likely to be absent for the Burnley clash.
However, Sokratis is back from his suspension and is likely to be part of the back-three alongside Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka. Behind them, Bernd Leno should come back between the posts, despite his error against Southampton, meaning Petr Cech will drop to the bench once again.
Hector Bellerin’s absence opens the door for Stephan Lichtsteiner to play from the start for the period the Spaniard is set to be out. The Swiss will be the right wing-back, while Nacho Monreal will take his role on the opposite flank with Sead Kolasinac a major doubt.
Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi are set to take up midfield roles with Xhaka playing in defence. Meanwhile, the most significant talking point of the last few weeks has concerned Mesut Ozil, after the German was left out for some key games. This was also the main subject when Emery spoke to journalists during his pre-match press conference.
“I am telling him what we need from him, and he has the commitment to help us and the quality and the characteristics to help us when the team needs his moments in the pitch in one game. Tomorrow he is in the 18 players, in the squad. I want every player with an excellent mentality to help us and give us their characteristics and quality. We need Mesut Ozil.”
Emery’s comments suggest Ozil could start, lining up as one of the attacking midfielders behind the central striker, who should be Alexandre Lacazette after he came off the bench once against in the midweek. With Lacazette leading the line, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should start alongside Ozil in attacking midfield.