Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tierney are among the players who are all set to return when Arsenal take on Watford at the Emirates on Sunday.
Arsenal will be hoping to return to winning ways and build momentum ahead of the FA Cup final, when they play hosts to Watford at the Emirates on Sunday evening. And, Mikel Arteta does not have any fresh injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s final Premier League fixture.
Ahead of the game, there is a feeling that the Arsenal boss could perhaps, rest some key players in order to avoid possible injuries. Arteta, though, insisted during his pre-match press conference that he will pick the strongest possible side to get the job done against Watford after assessing who all are ready for the game on Sunday.
“I am going to assess the squad, how they’re feeling, how everyone has recovered and ideally I want to play as strong a team as I can. We have to respect that there are a few teams in a relegation battle and we are responsible for that as well.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 25, 2020
With that in mind, several regulars could return, although there will be no change in goal, with Bernd Leno still some way off full fitness, although the German is working his way back to making his return. In Leno’s absence, though, Emiliano Martinez will start in the Arsenal goal once again.
As for defence, Calum Chambers is making progress on his recovery from a knee injury as well, but Shkodran Mustafi is ruled out for the remaining matches this season, something Arteta alluded to during his press conference, as he said, “I doubt it [Mustafi being available for the FA Cup final]. I don’t know. We have to see how he evolves in the next few days. At the moment, I doubt it.”
With Mustafi unavailable, Rob Holding will start on the right of the back-three, with David Luiz playing the sweeper role. The final spot should see Kieran Tierney return, with Sead Kolasinac making way. Tierney will be flanked by Bukayo Saka, who will be the left wing-back, with Hector Bellerin replacing Cedric Soares on the right.
In midfield, Dani Ceballos should have Granit Xhaka for company after a disappointing display by Lucas Torreira earlier this week in the 1-0 loss to Aston Villa. Torreira and Joe Willock will be the backup options in midfield, while Mesut Ozil misses out yet again.
Finally, in attack, Nicolas Pepe is primed to make his return. Pepe will start on the right wing, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set to be deployed on the left flank again. As for the central striker, Alexandre Lacazette will lead the line for Arsenal against Watford, meaning Eddie Nketiah misses out, making way for Pepe.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang