David Luiz is in contention to feature, but Granit Xhaka seems to be a certainty to start when Arsenal face West Ham United on Saturday.
Arsenal will hope to make it two wins in two at the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season when they play hosts to West Ham United at the Emirates on Saturday evening. And, Mikel Arteta has seen his squad’s injury woes ease up slightly ahead of the Gunners’ latest fixture.
While the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli remain unavailable, the good news heading into this weekend is the return of David Luiz. The Brazilian defender has been back in full training ahead of the visit of West Ham and is in contention to feature for Arsenal.
During his pre-match press conference, Arteta was posed the question of Luiz and whether he would start against West Ham. The Arsenal boss, though, was coy in his reply, saying, “David is training with us today again and he’s feeling much better. He will be available for tomorrow.”
The performance of his defence last week should prompt Arteta to give Luiz more time to regain his sharpness and match fitness. As a result, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney ought to continue in the three-man central defensive unit, with William Saliba missing out again after featuring for the Arsenal under-23 side on Friday. In goal, Bernd Leno is the obvious choice.
Meanwhile, the big doubt for the hosts ahead of the game against West Ham United was Granit Xhaka. The former Arsenal captain sustained a knock against Fulham last weekend and there were big question marks over his availability this weekend.
However, the team news section of the Arsenal website has no mention of a possible injury issue, meaning Xhaka should be available to take on West Ham. Xhaka’s availability means he starts in the midfield double pivot once again, with Mohamed Elneny earning another start after a solid display last week. Dani Ceballos will, therefore, be on the bench once again.
Finally, in attack, there is no looking past Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Willian for the time being, with Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah being the backups. Lacazette and Willian will hope to build on their showings last week after encouraging performances. Aubameyang, meanwhile, will look to celebrate penning a renewal with Arsenal with a top class display.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang