Mikel Arteta will take tough decisions with his team selection, with Gabriel Martinelli expected to return at the expense of Emile Smith Rowe.
Mikel Arteta will ponder changes to his lineup while keeping the majority of the group intact against Wolves. With a fully fit squad at his disposal, the Spaniard will likely make necessary tweaks in important positions as he targets another win.
Takehiro Tomiyasu is now fully fit and made the bench against Brentford. In his place, Cedric Soares has been performing admirably and played a major role in the attacking side of things against Brentford. The Portuguese international was also immense in Arsenal’s victory at Molineux; however, the Japan international could come in his place against Wolves.
Apart from that, the Arsenal backline is set to stay intact with Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney playing in front of Aaron Ramsdale in goal. As Arteta goes with his best possible backline, Bernd Leno, Rob Holding, Cedric, and Nuno Tavares could be among the defensive backup options for this clash.
There is no reason to change the central midfield pairing of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, who have been excellent when playing together. Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny will be available on the bench if needed.
The biggest decision on Arteta’s hands is selecting the left-sided attacker. Emile Smith Rowe is widely expected to keep his place after a goalscoring performance against Brentford. He was drafted to replace Gabriel Martinelli, who was suspended following his dismissal at Molineux.
While Smith Rowe has started fewer games in recent months compared to the Brazilian, Martinelli has momentum on his side to stake a claim at the starting berth.
Arteta spoke at length about Smith Rowe and his quality during his pre-game press conference. He said, “The numbers should be looking something like this and that’s not a coincidence. He’s practising every day; he is working; he has the willingness to do it because he knows he has the qualities and the capacity to do it. That’s what we have to demand from players, whether they are 19 or 20 or 35.”
Despite those glowing comments on the 21-year-old, Arteta might end up picking Martinelli yet again and keep Smith Rowe on the bench once more. It could also be due to the style of the player needed on the left flank for this particular game rather than making a choice based on form, with both stars in a similar run of form.
Bukayo Saka will continue to play on the right ahead of Nicolas Pepe, who could come in as a substitute at some stage. The in-form Martin Odegaard will start in the advanced midfield role behind the front three, while Alexandre Lacazette continues to lead the line for Arsenal and captain the side.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette