Following a strenuous 2-1 win over Blackpool in the EFL Cup this midweek, Arsenal will brace themselves for a tough challenge ahead when they host second-placed Liverpool at the Emirates in a couple of hours. The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 13 matches in all competitions but a win this weekend could potentially lift them above arch-rivals Chelsea.
Arsenal team news
Nacho Monreal (hamstring), Sead Kolasinac (hamstring), Hector Bellerin (muscle) and Sokratis (ankle) will face late fitness tests. Matteo Guendouzi is suspended while Mohamed Elneny is also unavailable with a thigh issue. Koscielny remains out.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup vs Liverpool (4-2-3-1)
Bernd Leno is expected to start in goal despite Petr Cech’s return to fitness. The veteran keeper played his first game after returning from injury this midweek but is expected to face a fight to regain his spot in the starting XI.
We expect Hector Bellerin to overcome his injury troubles and make a start. He will take up his rightful spot on the right side of the back four.
Rob Holding has performed well in recent games and could be rewarded with a starting berth against Liverpool alongside Shkodran Mustafi at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
On the left, Emery might have to make do with Stephan Lichtsteiner as Kolasinac and Monreal are major doubts.
If Lichtsteiner features as a left-back, we expect Granit Xhaka to return to his usual spot in the double pivot in midfield. Guendouzi and Elneny’s absence makes it easier for him to start and this is a huge opportunity to make a statement. Alongside him, Lucas Torreira will provide more urgency and energy against a similar high-voltage Liverpool midfield.
Elsewhere, Mesut Ozil will be deployed as the number ten. The former German international has averaged almost two key passes per game this season and his ability to carve open the opposing defence will be paramount in Arsenal’s attempts to break down a Liverpool defence that has conceded only four goals this campaign.
The Arsenal attack will be led by Alexandre Lacazette with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi occupying the wide roles. The combination of Lacazette and Aubameyang, in particular, could cause a series of trouble for the Liverpool backline as they have already plundered 11 goals in the league thus far.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored