Mikel Arteta is expected to reshuffle his offensive unit when Arsenal host Sheffield United at Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal will lock horns with struggling Sheffield United on Sunday as they look to continue their good start to the 2020/21 campaign. The Gunners have had a hectic run of fixtures of late, so we can expect quite a few changes from the side that secured a Carabao Cup victory over Liverpool in midweek.
The attack should see a major surgery, with manager Mikel Arteta likely to reshuffle his entire unit. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will return to the side at the expense of Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah.
The experienced Willian could also get the nod ahead of Joe Willock at right wing, although Bukayo Saka is also pushing for a place in the starting lineup.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 4, 2020
These attackers will be supported by the two marauding wing-backs in Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney, with the latter set to get the nod ahead of Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. It will be interesting to see how the Scot performs as a wing-back, having mostly been utilised as a centre-back by Arteta.
In midfield, Dani Ceballos was a slight doubt, but Arsenal have confirmed that the Spaniard has trained well and is fit for selection this weekend. “Substituted as a precaution at Liverpool on Thursday with tight thigh/groin. Has recovered and trained well since. Available for selection,” read an official statement from the club’s medical team.
Ceballos’s presence in midfield could be a massive boost for Granit Xhaka, whose combative nature and leadership could be extremely crucial against the three-man Sheffield United midfield. The Swiss international will have to be sharp with his passes and cannot afford to lose possession. Arsenal manager Arteta heaped praise on Xhaka during his press conference as well.
“I didn’t talk [to Granit beforehand]. I have to evaluate what happened since I joined. Obviously, I cannot deny the history but I have to follow my gut feeling. He is a leader, it’s unquestionable. He does it every day in training. He does it with the way he behaves himself. He does it with the way he competes and for me it was a natural choice.”
Finally, in defence, Gabriel Magalhaes should be awarded for his valiant performances in these early stages of the season. The Brazilian was, in fact, one of Arsenal’s best defenders in the win over Liverpool.
Gabriel should, therefore, retain his place in the starting eleven, forming the three-man backline alongside his compatriot David Luiz and Rob Holding. There is still no sign of William Saliba, who has now being linked with a return to Ligue 1, with Rennes reportedly interested in signing a loan deal for the centre-back.
Regardless, there should be no changes in goal, with Bernd Leno heading into this game as one of the most in-form players, not just in the Arsenal squad but the entire Premier League. The German was incredible against Liverpool and will be hoping to keep a clean sheet in this one.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Holding, Luiz, Gabriel; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang