Arsenal will welcome back Granit Xhaka to the starting XI, while Gabriel Martinelli is also likely to start when they face Manchester United on New Year’s Day.
Arsenal will be hoping to kickstart the New Year with a win when they take on arch rivals Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. And manager Mikel Arteta has been dealt a fresh injury blow ahead of the game, with Calum Chambers set to miss out after hobbling off with a knee injury against Chelsea.
Providing an update on the defender post the weekend encounter, Arteta said, “The doctors are assessing him. The first feeling he got, it wasn’t very positive.” Chambers is set to miss the Manchester United clash, along with fellow defenders Sokratis, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac.
🗞 Our head coach gives us an update on Granit and Calum#ARSCHE
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 29, 2019
There should be just a solitary change in the Arsenal backline against Manchester United, with Shkodran Mustafi set to take Chambers’ place. He will be partnered by David Luiz, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka continuing as the full-backs again. Bernd Leno is the undisputed starter between the sticks for the hosts.
Granit Xhaka, who has been in fine form recently, missed the Chelsea game due to an illness. Speaking of the Swiss midfielder after the weekend clash, Arteta had said, “After the [Bournemouth] game he started to feel ill. He had a temperature and he wasn’t feeling good. The last two days he’s been in bed. That’s why he’s not been selected.”
However, Xhaka is back in full training ahead of the Manchester United clash and should return to the starting XI. He is likely to replace Matteo Guendouzi with Lucas Torreira expected to hold on to his place in the midfield double pivot for Arsenal.
Reiss Nelson has been preferred over club record signing Nicolas Pepe on the right wing in the last two matches by Arteta and that is unlikely to change when Manchester United come visiting. Mesut Ozil has looked bright in previous two appearances and ought to continue as the Gunners’ No. 10.
There could be one possible change in attack though, now that Gabriel Martinelli has recovered from a thigh injury and is back in training. The Brazilian is likely to come into the side at the expense of the ineffective Alexandre Lacazette. Martinelli ought to line up on the left flank, allowing Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to move into the centre-forward slot.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka; Torreira, Xhaka; Nelson, Ozil, Martinelli; Aubameyang