Alexandre Lacazette is set to come in for Emile Smith Rowe while David Luiz will be in contention to feature when Arsenal face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Arsenal will be eager to kick-start 2021 with a third successive Premier League win when they lock horns with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday night. And, Mikel Areta has been handed a double boost ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
David Luiz and Willian have rejoined full training this week after recovering from their respective illnesses. The Brazilian duo is available to take on West Brom. In a further boost for Arteta, young winger Bukayo Saka is also fit to feature after shaking off a minor leg injury he picked up during Arsenal’s final game of 2020, against Brighton & Hove Albion.
However, Gabriel Magalhaes (coronavirus) and Thomas Partey (thigh) remain on the sidelines. Arteta provided a team news update during his pre-match press conference, with a word on Saka in particular. The Arsenal boss said, “We will see today, some players had to come in yesterday to get assessed after the game, we had a couple of knocks.”
“Then we had players that have been through all the Covid regulations with different individuals which I think we will recover for the game against West Brom, but it will be between today and tomorrow to see who is available, who is fit and how everybody is feeling. I hope he [Saka] is available, we will see today if he is training or not. He has played a lot of minutes as well. I am confident he will be okay for the game.”
Judging by Artea’s words, it looks like Saka should be fit to start, meaning the English international will retain his place on the right-wing. Gabriel Martinelli should also hold on to his spot and will be deployed on the left flank. However, there is likely to be one change in attack, with Alexandre Lacazette pushing for a recall.
The Frenchman made the difference last time out for Arsenal and should replace Emile Smith Rowe, despite the youngster’s impressive displays. The final spot in the Arsenal attack will go to captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will lead the line against West Brom.
The midfield double pivot, meanwhile, should remain unchanged, although Dani Ceballos will be hoping for a start. Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, though, should continue to pair up in the middle of the park. The same goes for the four-man backline, even though Luiz is in contention to start.
Pablo Mari, however, should continue to partner Rob Holding at the heart of the Arsenal defence versus West Brom, with Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney continuing as the full-back pairing. Finally, there is no looking past Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Lacazette, Martinelli; Aubameyang