Alexandre Lacazette is back in contention for selection, while Emile Smith Rowe could start when Arsenal face Chelsea in the Premier League.
Arsenal will be looking to end their recent rut and bounce back to winning ways when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face off against London rivals Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Ahead of the game, manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Alexandre Lacazette could be in contention to feature after missing the last match against Southampton due to COVID-related issues. The Arsenal boss also revealed that Takehiro Tomiyasu is close to returning but might not be ready in time for the trip to Chelsea.
“With Laca we are assessing him today to see if he is available with the team, obviously as you all know he had Covid so he’s been away for a few days. So we’re trying to get (how) he’s feeling and where he’s at if he can contribute somehow with the team. Tomi is very, very close. Whether this game is going to be too early for him or not, again we will decide it today after the training session,” Arteta said in his presser.
Apart from that, Arsenal will be without Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey, who is unlikely to play again this season. With Tierney unavailable, Nuno Tavares should continue at left-back, while Cedric Soares could be retained at right-back, with Tomiyasu unlikely to be rushed back. Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes are certain starters at the heart of the Arsenal defence, with Aaron Ramsdale manning the goal.
Partey’s injury leaves Arsenal without a reliable partner for Granit Xhaka in the double pivot. Summer signing Albert Sambi Lokonga is once again expected to start alongside the Swiss international. But the youngster will need to up his game against a quality team like Chelsea on Wednesday night.
Martin Odegaard has enjoyed a fine season so far for Arsenal and will continue in the No. 10 role, from where he will look to create goalscoring chances for his teammates. Bukayo Saka will also be a key player for the Gunners against Chelsea, with his runs from the right flank likely to cause problems.
There should be a change on the left flank, though, with Emile Smith Rowe coming into the lineup after not starting against Southampton last weekend. The Arsenal youngster’s return to the fray should see Gabriel Martinelli move to the No. 9 position as Lacazette might not be ready to start the game. Eddie Nketiah ought to drop out to the bench.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Lokonga, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Martinelli