Shkodran Mustafi will come in for the injured David Luiz while Nicolas Pepe will return to the starting lineup when Arsenal take on Dundalk on Thursday.
Arsenal will hope to make it two wins in two in the UEFA Europa League when they play hosts to Dundalk at the Emirates on Thursday night. And, Mikel Arteta has a number of injury concerns to contend with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Heading into the game against Dundalk, Arsenal are missing five first-team players, with Gabriel Martinelli a long-term absentee. The remaining four players are all central defenders, leaving Arteta down to his bare bones as far as the heart of his side’s defence is concerned.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 28, 2020
David Luiz is the latest player to pick up an injury, joining Rob Holding, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers on the sidelines. The Brazilian’s availability was a major talking point during Arteta’s pre-match press conference, as was Shkodran Mustafi’s possible inclusion in Luiz’s stead.
“David he is still having some discomfort in that area, Musti is completely fit to play and obviously the internal contractual situations will be discussed internally. There is no chance he [Luiz] will play against Dundalk. There is a big doubt for him to play at the weekend too.”
With Mustafi and Gabriel Magalhaes the only recognised centre-backs remaining at Areta’s disposal, Arsenal’s central defensive pairing is set in stone. Otherwise, the Arsenal manager is set to make a raft of changes to handle the fixture congestion.
As a result, Cedric Soares and Sead Kolasinac ought to start completing the hosts’ backline as the full-back pairing against Dundalk. In goal, Runar Alex Runarsson should finally be handed his debut, with Bernd Leno being provided a rare breather. In front of him, Arsenal should line up in a 4-3-3 formation.
In midfield, Dani Ceballos might be the only player to retain his place from the weekend’s game. The Spaniard should be joined by Mohamed Elneny and Joe Willock, who will come in for Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.
Finally, in attack, youngsters Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah will get a chance to impress. The final spot in the final third should be handed to Nicolas Pepe. While Willian is fit again after recovering from a knock, Pepe should get the nod on the right wing.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Runarsson; Cedric, Mustafi, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Ceballos, Elneny, Willock; Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson