Arsenal will square off against Liverpool in the FA Community Shield on Saturday, the traditional curtain-raiser for English football.
While Arsenal surprisingly lifted the FA Cup under the brilliant stewardship of Mikel Arteta, Liverpool dominated the Premier League last season, and have the chance to win their first Community Shield since 2006.
Neither team is 100% up and running yet, and this game will provide the opportunity for both sides to go one step closer to full fitness.
Arteta’s side will be the underdogs, but they will hope to replicate July’s surprise 2-1 win against Liverpool.
Arsenal Team News
Bernd Leno has fully recovered from his knee injury and will be available for selection. William Saliba is all set to feature for his new employers this season, and the defender will hope to feature against Liverpool.
Arsenal will be without the services of Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli, Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi as all four of them are on the treatment table.
Community Shield: Predicted Arsenal Lineup vs Liverpool
Emiliano Martinez did a tremendous job in the absence of Leno towards the fag end of last season (after the league resumed), and played a key role in the Gunners’ road to lifting the Cup in Wembley. He could start in goal against Liverpool.
David Luiz could start as the central defender in a three-man backline. Saliba and Kieran Tierney could feature either side of Luiz in the Arsenal lineup. Saliba will hope to impress, but that is easier said than done considering Liverpool have one of the best attacks in the world.
Hector Bellerin did not play a part in Tuesday’s friendly against MK Dons, so Cedric Soares could start as the right wing-back. Bukaya Sako – who impressed last season — could be summoned to start on the opposite side in the Arsenal lineup.
The departure of Dani Ceballos will be a massive blow for Arteta. Ceballos was a key player in the midfield, and fit well in Arteta’s blueprint.
The manager could go with Granit Xhaka and Joe Willock to fill the central midfield. Xhaka’s resurrection under Arteta means he is now one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Summer signing Willian could make his first appearance for Arsenal as he is expected to start on the right flank, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang likely to start on the left.
Eddie Nketiah could lead the line as he deserves to start after a promising outing against MK Dons.