Arsenal are likely to welcome back defender Sokratis for their FA Cup clash against Bournemouth, while young striker Eddie Nketiah is in line to start as well.
Arsenal will be looking to progress further in the FA Cup when they face off against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth in the fourth round of the competition at the Vitality Stadium on Monday night. And the Gunners could be set to welcome back Sokratis Papastathopoulos back to the starting lineup against the Cherries.
Sokratis had missed the Gunners’ last two matches due to illness, but is back in full training and should start on Monday, at the expense of Shkodran Mustafi. Rob Holding is also in line to feature at the heart of the Arsenal defence with David Luiz suspended for the tie after being sent off in the last game against Chelsea.
With both Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac still out with injuries, Bukayo Saka ought to continue at left-back for Arsenal against Bournemouth, while Hector Bellerin is likely to be retained at right-back after his impressive performance against Chelsea in the league. Emiliano Martinez should replace Bernd Leno in goal for the cup tie.
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Granit Xhaka could be given a breather here by Arteta, with Matteo Guendouzi likely to start in place of the Swiss international in midfield. Partnering him in the double pivot in the centre of the park should be Lucas Torreira, who has been in decent form of late.
There ought to be a change in the attacking midfield slot as well, with Mesut Ozil likely to be rested. Dani Ceballos would have been the natural replacement for the German, but the Real Madrid loanee is unlikely to be involved on Monday night as he still lacking match fitness, Arteta revealed.
“When I came here, he was doing his rehab and by the first two or three weeks he was getting back to fitness and I haven’t seen much of him because he’s only trained with us for a week or 10 days, you know. So it’s very early to assess what I can or cannot do with him,” Arteta told the reporters.
“He needs to get back to fitness and fight for his place like any other team. After that we will make the selection that I think is fair with what I see on the pitch,” the Arsenal boss further added. So, Joe Willock is in line to start as the No. 10 for Arsenal against Bournemouth.
Reiss Nelson is out injured while captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still suspended, meaning Arteta does not have a wealth of options to rotate his attacking unit. As a result, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli should continue out wide at the Vitality Stadium.
There could be a change upfront though, as Eddie Nketiah might get an opportunity to impress, having returned from his loan spell at Leeds United. Alexandre Lacazette will make way for the 20-year-old.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Martinez; Bellerin, Sokratis, Holding, Saka; Torreira, Guendouzi; Pepe, Willock, Martinelli; Nketiah