Sokratis is likely to come in for the suspended Calum Chambers while Hector Bellerin should return when Arsenal take on Bournemouth on Thursday.
Arsenal will be desperate to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they lock horns with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Thursday afternoon. And, new head coach Mikel Arteta has no fresh injuries to contend with ahead of his first game in-charge of the Gunners.
The former Arsenal captain was appointed as the new first-team boss last week, with Bournemouth being the first opponents in the Mikel Arteta era. This will, in fact, be the first ever game of Arteta’s managerial career, and it is likely that the Spaniard will keep things simple in the Boxing Day game.
Arteta should line his side up in a 4-3-3 formation, with the preference being on playing a brand of attractive possession-based football. Bernd Leno is the undisputed choice in goal for Arsenal and in front of him, the defensive line is likely to see a couple of changes.
Hector Bellerin has recovered from a hamstring injury and is being assessed ahead of the game. The Spanish full-back is expected to return to the right side of the Arsenal defence, meaning Ainsley Maitland-Niles could move out to the left flank, despite Bukayo Saka’s impressive display as a left-back against Everton.
At the heart of the Arsenal defence, there will be one forced change, with Calum Chambers missing out with a one-game ban after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out. Chambers ought to be replaced by Sokratis, who will partner David Luiz, with Rob Holding still on the sidelines and Konstantinos Mavropanos failing to impress lately.
The shift to the 4-3-3 formation could mean Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira could have Matteo Guendouzi giving them company in the middle of the park, with Joe Willock being on the bench. As far as attack is concerned, Gabriel Martinelli is a doubt to face Bournemouth due to a knock sustained at Everton.
Mesut Ozil did not travel to take on Everton due to a minor injury, although as per then caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg, the German playmaker would not have been involved even if he was fit. During his pre-match press conference, Arteta was quizzed to comment on Ozil’s situation.
“With me, they have a clean slate. I told them that. You’re not going to be judged on things you’ve done in the past, whether they are negative or positive. This is evolving every day and I’m expecting you to perform and be in the right mindset every single day for me. If you do that, you’ll have a chance to play. If you don’t, you won’t.”
Ozil, though, is unlikely to start, with the focus being on transitioning with pace, meaning if Martinelli misses out, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will move out to the left side of the attack, while Nicolas Pepe will start on the right flank. Alexandre Lacazette should lead the line against Bournemouth.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Maitland-Niles; Guendouzi, Xhaka, Torreira; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang