Mesut Ozil could start again while Granit Xhaka will not feature when Arsenal welcome Wolves to the Emirates on Saturday.
Arsenal will be looking to bring an end to their three-game winless run in domestic football when they play hosts to Wolves at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. And, Unai Emery has a near-full strength squad at his disposal ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Bernd Leno is set to return in goal after being rested in the Carabao Cup tie at Liverpool earlier this week. The defensive line is set for a makeover as well, with Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney being the two full-backs, while David Luiz will partner up with Sokratis Papastathopoulos at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
Up ahead in midfield, the bone of contention heading into the game against Wolves has been regarding the involvement of Granit Xhaka. The Arsenal captain has been under fire since directing his angst towards the fans last weekend, setting off a debate surrounding the club’s captaincy.
Emery addressed the issue of the Arsenal captaincy during his pre-match press conference, while also talking about whether Xhaka will feature when Wolves pay the North Londoners a visit on Saturday.
“He is training normally with the team, he didn’t play at Liverpool and he is continuing and above all has remained focused on tomorrow. We were waiting for his statement on Monday ahead of the last press conference here on Tuesday. The next step is tomorrow’s match.”
“The focus is tomorrow’s match. It [club captaincy] is not in my mind that he will play tomorrow. It’s not in my mind that he will play tomorrow. He’s not in my mind. I think that tomorrow, he is not going to play.”
Emery’s comments have made it clear that Xhaka will play a part against Wolves. Lucas Torreira should be the man to replace the Swiss international following a solid showing against Liverpool. Matteo Guendouzi is, meanwhile, a certain starter in the middle of the park.
Like Torreira, Mesut Ozil and Gabriel Martinelli were mighty impressive in the cup tie, with Ozil, especially, proving a point with a spectacular performance. And, Emery suggested that the duo are in line to start against Wolves, reserving praise for Ozil, in particular.
“It is very important to use lots of players because we are playing lots of matches, and it’s a challenge for them to show how they can help us. The performance was positive at Liverpool and I am thinking how they can help us tomorrow.”
“Now I am seeing him [Ozil] positive and consistent. On Wednesday, with his performance in Liverpool, I think this is the way we want. Also I am helping him, supporting him, demanding of him. This is the Mesut I think everyone wants.”
Ozil might have worked his way to making his second Premier League start of the season. But, Martinelli might have to suffice with a place on the bench, with Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang expected to start.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno; Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney; Guendouzi, Torreira; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette