Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz are expected to return to the Arsenal starting lineup when they face Everton on Saturday
Arsenal’s pursuit of a much-needed victory continues when they lock horns with Everton at the Goodison Park on Saturday. A win could be crucial as Mikel Arteta looks to save his skin following a catastrophic start to the campaign.
However, it should not deter the Spaniard from ringing in a few changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Southampton in midweek. Hector Bellerin, for one, seems destined to find his way back into the starting lineup, at the expense of Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back.
Arteta did not offer any hints when asked about his desired candidate to replace the suspended Gabriel Magalhaes at centre-back. “Let’s see who we have available tomorrow. Obviously, we’ve lost Gabi now with the red card. We will assess them today and decide who is the best to go and try to beat Everton,” he told the media during the pre-match press conference.
David Luiz remains the favourite to start, having even featured as a substitute in midweek. He should get the nod ahead of Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi, thereby starting alongside Rob Holding at the heart of the four-man backline.
The remaining defensive positions should be occupied by Kieran Tierney and Bernd Leno, respectively, with the former interchanging between a centre-back and a left-back role in Arsenal’s pendulating back-four.
In midfield, the absence of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey gives Arteta no option but to persist with Dani Ceballos. The on-loan Real Madrid star is yet to impress in the ongoing campaign, but is likely to get the nod ahead of Joe Willock nonetheless. He is set to operate alongside Mohamed Elneny in the double pivot.
Bukayo Saka should occupy the additional midfield slot. Although in all fairness, Arsenal have given him the freedom to operate in a more left-sided attacking role and the Englishman, as a result, has been quite influential.
In the attacking department, however, Arteta could make important changes. Willian and Alexandre Lacazette are both expected to make their way back into the starting eleven at the expense of Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah.
Lacazette’s return could, in fact, force Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to start out wide, unless Arteta opts for a 4-2-3-1 in which case the Frenchman should occupy the number ten role. Willian, on the other hand, remains a favourite to start on the right-hand channel.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Elneny, Ceballos, Saka; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang