Takehiro Tomiyasu remains doubtful, and Emile Smith Rowe will be back in the squad, but Mikel Arteta will pick an unchanged lineup against Leicester City.
Mikel Arteta is likely to name an unchanged lineup to face Leicester City at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon. Considering how good Arsenal have been since the end of January, the starting eleven needs no tinkering, with only the slightest changes expected. One of those changes could pertain to Cedric Soares, who continues to have a tremendous impact for Arsenal.
The Portuguese international will likely keep his place at right-back in the continued absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is again a doubt this weekend. The Japanese international was seen in full training this week, but Arteta indicated it might take a bit longer for him to feature.
Providing an update on Tomiyasu’s status during his pre-match press conference, Arteta said, “Tomiyasu, we are still assessing him. We are taking some time to try to protect him and get him in the best and the safest possible way so he can help the team as quick as possible.”
Meanwhile, when asked about Emile Smith Rowe, Arteta confirmed his availability. The 21-year-old missed the last game after testing positive for COVID-19, but the youngster should be back in the squad against Leicester City.
Reiterating Smith Rowe’s importance in the team, Arteta said, “Hopefully he can get the rhythm and the consistency and stay out of missing games because he’s a really important player for us and we need him.”
Gabriel Martinelli is expected to keep his place on the left flank. Smith Rowe will join Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah as high-quality backup options on the bench. It certainly gives Arteta a better chance to turn games around.
Arsenal’s Player of the Month for February, Thomas Partey, will continue in the anchor role. Granit Xhaka is still considered the other central midfielder, although he will play a bit further whenever Arsenal attack the ball. Martin Odegaard will take up the attacking role from a central zone, with the Norwegian gaining the reputation of Arsenal’s chief creator.
Bukayo Saka will start from the right-hand side as he continues his sizzling partnership with Odegaard on the flank. Alexandre Lacazette will lead the line for Arsenal against Leicester City, looking to stitch together the front three after setting up two goals against Watford.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette