Thomas Partey is set to return to the starting lineup when Arsenal face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Arsenal face a stern test on their hands as they lock horns with Leicester City on Sunday. It is a vital game for the Gunners in their bid to return to the top half of the league table and stage a late push for the Europa League spot.
Fortunately, Mikel Arteta has been dealt positive news in recent weeks, with Thomas Partey now ready to make his start after featuring as a substitute in the win over SL Benfica. The Ghanaian international could thus renew his partnership with Granit Xhaka at the base of Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1.
There might be changes in order, elsewhere though, as Arteta looks to prioritise the Europa League, which still serves as the best opportunity for them to get into next season’s Champions League.
“Let’s see how we are feeling tomorrow. Today the players are still in Greece, we have to travel back on a four-hour flight but we won’t use that as an excuse.
“We have to deal with that, we know that when you play in European competition you have to be able to perform every three days and we will prepare to play Leicester with the same intensity like we always do,” Arteta said, during the pre-match press conference just after the Benfica game.
In the defensive unit, Rob Holding has received a clearance to return after suffering a knock against Manchester City. He is a likely starter alongside Pablo Mari as part of the rotation policy, with Cedric Soares also likely to get a call-up, ahead of either Kieran Tierney or Hector Bellerin.
Bukayo Saka is one of the players tipped to receive a breather, along with Martin Odegaard as Arteta looks to recall Nicolas Pepe back into the squad. Emile Smith Rowe, on the other hand, should continue in attack while there might be a rare start for Gabriel Martinelli, with the Gunners likely to switch things around.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though, is a guaranteed starter in the number nine, having rediscovered his scoring form. “He is getting into much better positions, his rhythm during the games is much better with and without the ball, his movement.
“The week before when we played Benfica, he had three big chances and I am not worried about him missing them because I know if he gets in those positions, he is going to be scoring consistently so this is what he has to demand himself. If we have Auba at his best, as a team we obviously have a much better chance to be successful,” Arteta said when asked about the striker’s return of form.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Cedric, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Aubameyang