Bukayo Saka is likely to be rested when Arsenal lock horns with Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday.
Arsenal are hoping to bounce back to winning form when they travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United on Sunday. It is going to be a must-win encounter for the visitors who are coming on the back of a disastrous 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
However, manager Mikel Arteta, during his pre-match press conference, has appeared quite outspoken about the hectic schedule, especially following the international break and its toll on players’ fitnesses.
“We’ve been doing it, training individually and doing it without having the possibility as the manager to speak to them all in a room, and we’ve even done it without the fans. But guys, we need the players. We have to protect them as much as possible.”, Arteta told the press.
Judging by the Spaniard’s comments, there could be some interesting changes in the Arsenal lineup this weekend. Bukayo Saka, in particular, was quite involved with the England side and might be given a breather, thus paving the way for Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left wingb-ack while Hector Bellerin is pretty much a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank.
Kieran Tierney was another player who was quite involved during the international. But with Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers out injured and Sead Kolasinac unavailable due to Covid-19, the Scot may continue at centre-back, alongside Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding, who might get the nod ahead of David Luiz.
Speaking of Covid-19, Mohamed Elneny is another victim of the virus and has been ruled out against Leeds United, along with his midfield partner Thomas Partey, the club confirmed. It serves as a major blow for Arteta, who might now have to recall Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka back into the starting eleven.
Moving forward, no substantial changes are expected to be made, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again set to operate in the left-wing slot. It will be interesting to see whether or not the ex-Dortmund forward’s sublime pace could be useful against Leeds’ high defensive line.
Aubameyang should be partnered by Willian and Alexandre Lacazette in the attack, although Arteta also has the option of Nicolas Pepe and potentially Reiss Nelson, although the Englishman remains a minor doubt heading into this encounter.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.