Hector Bellerin could return to the side while Nicolas Pepe and Calum Chambers are set to start for Arsenal in Sunday’s derby against Chelsea.
Arsenal will be looking to pick up their first win under new manager Mikel Arteta when they welcome local rivals Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon. And speaking ahead of the big game, the new man in charge outlined what he desired from his players moving forward.
“I would like to start to see a little bit more control in some situations, and more awareness of why things happened,” Arteta said in an interview with the club website. “We don’t have much time to train in, I only have I think two sessions in one week with the starting XI, which is nothing.”
“But through video, through talks, through individual meetings, slowly, they have to embrace that information… and we will start to build some fundamentals and principles that as a team will help them.”
🤔 What do you want to see in our next performances, @m8arteta?
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 28, 2019
Arsenal have a number of injuries to contend with heading into Sunday’s derby with left-backs Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac both ruled out, while Sokratis is the latest addition to the treatment tables, having picked up a head injury in the game against Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
However, the Gunners have been treated with some positive news as Dani Ceballos and Rob Holding back in full training, while Hector Bellerin and Gabriel Martinelli are also in contention to return. Calum Chambers is also available for selection after serving his one-match ban.
Arteta is unlikely to make a whole lot of changes to the team that started against Bournemouth earlier in the week. Bernd Leno has been one of Arsenal’s few consistent performers this season and is an undisputed starter in goal. With Chambers available, he ought to return to the side at the expense of the injured Sokratis.
Chambers will have David Luiz as his partner at the heart of the Arsenal defence while Bukayo Saka is set to continue at left-back in the absence of Tierney and Kolasinac. Ainsley Maitland-Niles endured a difficult eveing against the Cherries last time out and might make way for Bellerin, should the Spaniard clear his late fitness test.
No changes are expected in midfield with Granit Xhaka expected to start again after two impressive performances against Everton and Bournemouth. He will once again be partnered with Uruguayan international Lucas Torreira in the double pivot, with Mesut Ozil slotting in as the No. 10 for Arsenal after showing glimpses of his quality in the last game.
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came to his team’s rescue once again last time out and should be retained in the starting XI on Sunday. The Gabonese forward is likely to start on the left flank with Nicolas Pepe set to return to the side on the right wing, after making a substitute appearance last time out. Reiss Nelson will be the one to make way.
Alexandre Lacazette did not enjoy a productive evening against Bournemouth last time out, but with Martinelli’s involvement not guaranteed, the Frenchman is expected to continue as the centre-forward for Arsenal.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Bellerin, Chambers, Luiz, Saka; Torreira, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette