An injury hit Arsenal travel to the Vitality Stadium to play Bournemouth as the Gunners return to Premier League action. Last Word on Football looks at an Arsenal-predicted lineup with vital players missing.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
David Raya in Goal for Arsenal
The competition to be Arsenal’s goalkeeper ramped up a notch in midweek, with Aaron Ramsdale fighting back after being dropped for the previous three matches. The Englishman was terrific in the midweek EFL Cup 1-0 win against Brentford, including tipping a close-range effort from Yoane Wissa onto the post.
Notwithstanding this performance, Arteta has been selecting the Spaniard for all of Arsenal’s biggest games recently. The match this weekend provides an opportunity to overtake the teams above, meaning the Spanish international will likely start.
Watch: Analysing Arsenal
Arsenal Predicted Lineup: William Saliba to Miss Out for Arsenal
One of the main concerns for the Gunners heading into this game is the fitness of star centre-back William Saliba. The Frenchman has been unable to train this week and was not in the squad for the midweek clash with Brentford. The priority for Arsenal has to be to make sure Saliba is fully fit for the clash with Man City next weekend at the Emirates.
Expect Takehiro Tomiyasu to play, with Arteta describing the Japanese international’s defending as ‘the best I’ve seen’. There are no doubts over Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, or Oleksandr Zinchenko, who should all start alongside Tomiyasu.
Forced Changes in Midfield for Arsenal
The injury list for Arsenal is no more noticeable than in midfield. Thomas Partey remains weeks away from a return, and the Gunners lost both Declan Rice and Fabio Vieira to injury in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham last weekend. Neither player is likely to make it back in time for the trip to the south coast, meaning Jorginho should start for the Gunners.
After a costly error in the North London Derby, the experienced ball-playing midfielder looked composed against Brentford. With few other options, Jorginho will almost certainly get 90 minutes in this game. Martin Odergaard should captain the side, and after defending his slow start to life in North London, Arteta will likely prefer Kai Havertz to Emile Smith-Rowe.
Opportunity for Nelson
Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard were both injured for the draw with Spurs. Neither have trained this week or featured against Brentford. The injuries are not supposed to rule either of them out long-term, but similarly, with Saliba, Arteta has to have an eye on getting them back in time for Manchester City.
Bukayo Saka was taken off as a precaution against Spurs, but he too was unable to make the squad against Brentford, and although he could be back in time, expect Reiss Nelson to start after his match-winning goal in midweek. Gabriel Jesus will likely start alongside Eddie Nketiah in a front three with Nelson.
Arsenal’s Recent Form and Tactics
Despite finding themselves four points behind league leaders Man City, Arsenal remain one of only two teams unbeaten this season alongside Liverpool. Arsenal will likely play in their usual 4-3-3 formation, with Zinchenko inverting from left back.
The injuries on the wing forced Jesus into a wide position with Nketiah through the middle against Spurs. Jesus seems to have more impact from out wide.
Arsenal Injuries to Consider
Despite all the players who are doubts for the fixture, only Thomas Partey and Jurrien Timber remain long-term concerns for Arsenal. But with Saliba, Rice, Vieira, Trossard, Martinelli, and Saka all doubts, expect the Gunners to line up with a depleted starting lineup.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
Raya, White, Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Jorginho, Havertz, Odergaard, Nelson, Nketiah, Jesus.