Mikel Arteta is set to ring in the changes when Arsenal take on a spirited Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal will lock horns with Leicester City in an early afternoon Premier League on Saturday. The resurgent Gunners are unbeaten in their last eight competitive matches and are hoping to move up the ladder with crucial three points.
Mikel Arteta is expected to make a host of personnel changes after resting most of his key players in the midweek’s Carabao Cup fixture against Leeds United.
“We both had to play 90 minutes, except for the penalties [this week]. We had a really tough game against the most intense Premier League team in Leeds and now we feel recovered and ready for the next one,” Arteta told the media in the pre-match press conference.
In terms of team news, though, the Spaniard delivered a rather cryptic update, suggesting a few of his players had picked up knocks during the Leeds United. “There have been a few of them that haven’t been able to train. We picked up some knocks during the game against Leeds, but hopefully, when everybody is back, we will have better news,” said the Arsenal manager.
Therefore, it is hard to deduce the exact team setup set to feature against the Foxes. Nevertheless, with most players being given the rest, we expect all of the first-team stars to remain fit and return to the starting eleven, including goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
In defence, Ben White is likely to be the only player retaining his place in the side, partnering the returning Gabriel Magalhaes and Takehiro Tomiyasu in the back four. Arteta has been quite transparent with the fitness of Kieran Tierney, deeming him a doubt for the upcoming clash.
“He’s progressing in training. Let’s see again how he is today. He felt a little bit better in the last few days but he wasn’t 100 per cent ready to start the game [against Leeds], but again, we will see what happens in the next 48 hours,” said Arteta. Tierney’s likely absence means Nuno Tavares should reclaim his spot at left-back, replacing Sead Kolasinac.
In midfield, Thomas Partey and Albert Sambi Lokonga should return at the expense of Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Granit Xhaka remains out with a long-term injury.
There will be changes in attack as well, with Arteta expected to continue with the offensive duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The two strikers are set to be aided by the creative presence of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, while Martin Odegaard is also in contention for a start.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Partey, Lokonga; Saka, Lacazette, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang