Shkodran Mustafi is ruled out while Eddie Nketiah is likely to come in for Alexandre Lacazette when Arsenal take on Aston Villa on Tuesday.
Arsenal will be eager to build on their two big wins last week when they lock horns with Aston Villa at Villa Park on Tuesday night. Mikel Arteta, though, has a fresh injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Shkodran Mustafi sustained a minor hamstring injury during Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City. As per the update from the Gunners’ medical team, Mustafi is ruled out for the trip to Birmingham to take on Aston Villa, joining Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli on the sidelines. But Eddie Nketiah is back after serving his suspension.
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Arteta was quizzed about the German centre-back during his pre-match presser and he was unsure about the extent of his injury. He said, “We don’t know. Obviously everybody was with heavy legs and tiredness and everything, but he had to come off. For Musti to come off, that’s not very usual that he has to come off when he’s not injured. We will have to see today and get the news from the doctor.”
With Mustafi unavailable to face Aston Villa, Rob Holding is likely to return to the starting lineup. There could be another change at the back, with Sead Kolasinac coming in for Kieran Tierney, who is due some rest. Holding and Kolasinac will have David Luiz for company, with the trio guarding Emiliano Martinez in the Arsenal goal.
Up ahead in midfield, there could be a few more alterations. Cedric Soares is expected to start in place of Hector Bellerin, having been cup-tied against Manchester City. On the opposite flank, Bukayo Saka ought to replace Ainlsey Maitland-Niles as the left wing-back.
Granit Xhaka has been in fine form under the tutelage of Arteta and was Arsenal’s best player on the weekend. The Swiss midfielder should continue to hold down his place in midfield, but Dani Ceballos could be rested again, with Lucas Torreira starting in his stead.
Finally, in attack, the big change should see Nketiah replace Alexandre Lacazette. The young striker is available again after completing his three-match ban and his return would allow Arteta to rest Lacazette. Nketiah ought to lead the line for Arsenal against Aston Villa, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe being the two wide men.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Kolasinac; Cedric, Torreira, Xhaka, Saka; Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang