Bukayo Saka starting on the right wing will leave no space for Nicolas Pepe in the starting lineup when Arsenal take on Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal will have a chance to take a step further to contest for a European spot when they travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to take on Tottenham for the second north London Derby of the season. Their challenge could be made more accessible through a favour from Everton, who travel to the Molineux to lock horns with Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier in the day.
Mikel Arteta will be in charge of his first-ever north London derby and will have to contend with a handful of injury concerns; none being fresh, though. Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Matteo Guendouzi, Gabriel Martinelli and Mesut Ozil are out of the game while Eddie Nketiah is out serving his suspension for the red card he picked against Leicester City.
Emiliano Martinez has replaced Leno in the six-yard box and has thus far served as an able deputy to the German, who was in fine form before getting injured last month. He will be guarded by the unchanged back-three Arteta has relied on recently, with David Luiz marshalling the defence alongside Sead Kolasinac on the left and Shkodran Mustafi on the right.
The midfield will comprise of a double pivot flanked by a wing-back on either side. Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka are expected to assume responsibility in the centre of the park while Hector Bellerin and Kieren Tierney provide the width. The Arsenal manager was all praise for Tierney, who has been putting in spectacular performances since shifting to the left wing-back role.
“He had a really difficult period because of the injuries, because he moved to a different city, a different context than he had in Glasgow with a club that was winning all the time and where he was very settled. It was a challenge for him,” said Arteta in his pre-game press conference.
The attack, too, will be unchanged from the previous game as Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang start on the wings for the London outfit. Alexandre Lacazette is expected to lead the line for Arsenal against Tottenham despite his poor form this season.
Lacazette has no direct competition for his role for Sunday, except Aubameyang who could shift to the middle as one of Saka or Nicolas Pepe take charge of the other wing. This set up is untested, though, and will likely not be tried in a big game like the one against Tottenham, meaning Pepe misses out again.
Arsenal Predicted XI (3-4-3): Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang