Arsenal return to the Champions League for the first time since 2017 with a home tie against PSV Eindhoven. Last Word on Football predicts how Mikel Arteta’s side will lineup as they look to get off to a winning start in Group B.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs PSV Eindhoven
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Changes at the Back
Unlike every other Premier League club, Arsenal’s summer purchase of David Raya means either he or Aaron Ramsdale could start in goal. It is likely the Englishman will be favoured for the North London Derby coming this weekend so expect Raya to keep his place after making his debut in the 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday.
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Arteta will have to choose a side that both optimises his team’s chances of winning the match while keeping an eye on the must-win challenge at North London over the weekend. With that in mind, Oleksandr Zinchenko may well be rested having only recently returned to full fitness following a calf injury.
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Takehiro Tomiyasu has been solid when featuring off the bench so far this season so he may well be used from the start at left back. Ben White, William Saliba, and Gabriel Magalhaes will likely complete the back four with limited options after the long-term injury sustained by summer signing Jurrien Timber.
Kai Havertz to Return
Kai Havertz flattered to deceive as he started the first four matches of the Premier League campaign and he was dropped for the visit to Goodison Park at the weekend for Fabio Vieira. Arteta may see the home tie against PSV as an opportunity for Havertz to rediscover some form although underestimating the Dutch side should be avoided as they sit top of the Eredivisie after four matches.
Declan Rice and Martin Odergaard are likely to complete the midfield which providing they stay fit, they will do consistently this season for the Gunners.
Leandro Trossard From the Start
Following the hamstring injury sustained by Gabriel Martinelli against Everton, Leandro Trossard will likely start on the left wing with Bukayo Saka on the right. Arteta’s use of Gabriel Jesus has been very sparing since his return from injury in the 2-2 draw with Fulham nearly a month ago.
The Gunners will be significantly stronger with him as their number nine against Ange Postecoglou’s in-form side so expect Eddie Nketiah to keep his place against PSV.
Arsenal’s Recent Form and Tactics
Arteta’s side will set up in their usual 4-3-3 formation which has served them well this season with four wins and a draw in their first five games. Whether it is Tomiyasu or Zinchenko, Arsenal’s left-back will invert in possession to play with another pivot alongside Rice. An exciting aspect of Arsenal’s start to the season has been the impact of fringe players.
Arteta has improved the likes of Trossard, who was the match-winner against Everton, and Vieira, who got two assists against Fulham. Improvements in the strength of depth are going to be key if Arsenal are going to compete in Europe while maintaining title-winning ambition.
Arsenal Injuries to Consider
Another reason for the importance of strength in depth at the Emirates is the gradually growing injury list. Arsenal are without Timber until Spring 2024, and Thomas Partey aims to return after mid-October’s next international break.
But most worrying of all is the recent injury sustained by Martinelli. Although the seriousness of the damage is not confirmed, Arteta did confirm it was a muscular injury usually leading to a few weeks on the touchline.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
David Raya, Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Declan Rice, Martin Odergaard, Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Leandro Trossard.