Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Sunday but they will be without a key defender. How will this affect the team selection?
The North London club scored a comfortable victory in the Europa League during the week as they emerged 3-0 winners over Dundalk. A heavily rotated side ensured that the three points stayed at the Emirates with goals from Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe.
Regarding the team news, the big absentee will be David Luiz who is out injured at the moment. The Brazilian will be joining players such as Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Pablo Mari on the sidelines. What will Mikel Arteta do to combat this?
In goal, Bernd Leno will return after Alex Runarsson was handed his debut on Thursday. The Emirates club will lineup in their usual 3-4-3 formation on Sunday. Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel and Kieran Tierney will start at centre back.
The return of the German was crucial for the Gunners as they have quite a few injuries in this area of the pitch. This was highlighted during the game against Dundalk where the Gunners were playing without a true centre back for long stretches of play.
The four that will play ahead of them will also see changes. Bukayo Saka and Hector Bellerin were given a rest during the week and they will be replacing Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Cedric Soares.
The midfield duo that will take to the pitch at Old Trafford will be Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey. The Ghanaian was rested on Thursday so he should be fit and ready to go.
Arteta also does have the option of bringing in Dani Ceballos, but the Spaniard will likely opt for Xhaka and Partey for the added physicality they offer.
Nicolas Pepe who had a great outing in Europe will be starting this game and looking to build on his goal. The winger’s tricky nature will put the opposition full backs under a lot of stress. Alongside him, it will be the return of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who were rested. These three will have to be on point for Arsenal get a win over one of their great rivals.
Predicted Arsenal Starting XI Against Manchester United (3-4-3):
Bernd Leno, Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang