Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should feature in the Arsenal lineup to face Manchester City, while Martin Odegaard could get his first league start.
Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium to face champions Manchester City in what promises to be a crunch encounter. The Gunners haven’t had much success in previous years at this venue, although Mikel Arteta would be hopeful this time around. His side are still winless and goalless in the league after two losses so far.
The big news would be the return of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after suffering a bout of Covid. The Gabonese missed the opening game of the season and came off the bench against Chelsea. However, he did start against West Brom in the cup tie, scoring a hattrick and assisting Nicolas Pepe’s goal.
Alexandre Lacazette too has returned and could be placed on the bench. The Frenchman got a goal against West Brom after coming off the bench. Hector Bellerin could also make the squad after recovering from his injury and only recently rejoining full training.
Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Martinelli limped off against Chelsea but are fit and have been training properly. The left-back will certainly start, while the Brazilian should be on the bench. Thomas Partey remains sidelined with an ankle injury and should be available after the international break.
Defender Gabriel has also reported for training recently, although he would be unavailable for the Man City game. During the pre-match press conference, Mikel Arteta addressed some of the existing absentees in the squad. He confirmed Ben White would be unavailable again after the defender tested positive for Covid on the eve of the Chelsea clash.
Arteta said, “He’s asymptomatic. He’s been feeling good, and as quick as we can, we’re going to bring him back to training and start to play games with us again.
Arteta has sometimes relied on a back three for crucial games such as these. Although with a shortage of right players at the back would force his hand at stationing a back-four. Even though Bellerin is back in the squad, he might not be risked now, meaning Cedric, who was rested midweek, might start at right-back.
Bernd Leno should return to action in goal, while Rob Holding should keep his place and partner with Pablo Mari in central defence. Tierney’s presence is a boost for Arteta, and the Scotsman will start at left-back.
Albert Sambi Lokonga should take his place in central defence alongside Granit Xhaka, meaning Mohamed Elneny should be resigned to a bench role. There could be a first league start for Martin Odegaard on his return to Arsenal after an impressive display during midweek.
Bukayo Saka limped off against West Brom, but he is fit to start the game, and he will. Emile Smith Rowe could take up a position on the left side of the attack with the arrival of Odegaard. Nicolas Pepe could find himself on the bench as Arteta might rotate his attackers a bit. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should start ahead of Alexandre Lacazette as Arsenal’s central striker.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno, Cedric, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Lokonga, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang.