Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz are expected to return to the Arsenal starting lineup when they face Everton on Saturday
Arsenal’s pursuit of a much-needed victory continues when they lock horns with Everton at the Goodison Park on Saturday. A win could be crucial as Mikel Arteta looks to save his skin following a catastrophic start to the campaign.
However, it should not deter the Spaniard from ringing in a few changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Southampton in midweek. Hector Bellerin, for one, seems destined to find his way back into the starting lineup, at the expense of Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back.
Arteta did not offer any hints when asked about his desired candidate to replace the suspended Gabriel Magalhaes at centre-back. “Let’s see who we have available tomorrow. Obviously, we’ve lost Gabi now with the red card. We will assess them today and decide who is the best to go and try to beat Everton,” he told the media during the pre-match press conference.
David Luiz remains the favourite to start, having even featured as a substitute in midweek. He should get the nod ahead of Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi, thereby starting alongside Rob Holding at the heart of the four-man backline.
The remaining defensive positions should be occupied by Kieran Tierney and Bernd Leno, respectively, with the former interchanging between a centre-back and a left-back role in Arsenal’s pendulating back-four.
In midfield, the absence of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey gives Arteta no option but to persist with Dani Ceballos. The on-loan Real Madrid star is yet to impress in the ongoing campaign, but is likely to get the nod ahead of Joe Willock nonetheless. He is set to operate alongside Mohamed Elneny in the double pivot.
Bukayo Saka should occupy the additional midfield slot. Although in all fairness, Arsenal have given him the freedom to operate in a more left-sided attacking role and the Englishman, as a result, has been quite influential.
In the attacking department, however, Arteta could make important changes. Willian and Alexandre Lacazette are both expected to make their way back into the starting eleven at the expense of Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah.
Lacazette’s return could, in fact, force Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to start out wide, unless Arteta opts for a 4-2-3-1 in which case the Frenchman should occupy the number ten role. Willian, on the other hand, remains a favourite to start on the right-hand channel.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Elneny, Ceballos, Saka; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
EVERTON V ARSENAL | LIVE MATCH
- Holding (22 og)
- Pepe (35 pen)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is sidelined with a calf problem
- Gabriel Martinelli returns to our matchday squad
- Tune in to The Breakdown Live on Arsenal.com or via the Arsenal app
- Kick-off at 5:30pm (UK time)
GOAL! PEPE! (PEN)
PENALTY: Ainsley Maitland-Niles is brought down inside the Everton box and the referee points to the spot!
Eddie Nketiah beats Tom Davies to a loose ball and we have a free-kick mid-way inside our own half.
Crossed in by Mason Holgate. Headed away by David Luiz.
CHANCE: Kieran Tierney picks out Eddie Nketiah in a huge amount of space inside the Everton box. Our young forward controls it well but fires his shot wide of the post. What a chance!
Alex Iwobi crosses the ball in and it comes off Rob Holding and drops into Bernd Leno’s net. Everton have the lead.
GOAL: HOLDING (OG)
Michael Keane goes long into Dominic Calvert-Lewin but Bern Leno comes to collect.
Michael Keane shoots from 30 yards and it whistles wide of Bernd Leno’s right-hand post. That was close!
The ball played long into Dominic Calvert-Lewin but his touch is heavy and we recover possession.
Everton seeing a large amount of the ball in these early stages.