Arsenal host Wolves at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday in a crucial fixture in the Premier League top-four race.
The Gunners, who edged past Brentford 2-1 at home on Saturday, have put themselves in a promising position to qualify for next season’s Champions League with a recent run of good results. They sit four points adrift of fourth-place Manchester United, albeit with three games in hand.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side will be up against a vibrant Wolves team out for revenge having tasted a 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture at the Molineux earlier this month.
Arsenal Team News
Gabriel Martinelli is available to face Wolves after serving a one-match ban for his sending off at Molineux earlier this month. Takehiro Tomiyasu returned to the bench against Brentford, boosting Mikel Arteta’s options at the back ahead of a busy run of fixtures.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup vs Wolves (4-2-3-1)
Aaron Ramsdale is the undisputed first-choice in goal, and after missing out on a clean sheet in the dying minutes against Brentford, he will be raring to keep one on Thursday.
Mikel Arteta is likely to go with the same backline that started against Brentford on Saturday, which means Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White and Cedric Soares should all feature in the Arsenal lineup against Wolves.
Takehiro Tomiyasu was an unused substitute in the last game and should find himself again on the bench following Cedric’s recent run of good form. This would also give the Japanese international time to get back to optimum fitness.
But this is an area of the pitch which is most likely to see a rotation in tomorrow’s game.
The Gunners boss is expected to continue with a 4-2-3-1 formation, meaning Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey should keep their places in the middle of the park. The double-pivot of Xhaka and Partey will have to be at their best to stop Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho from dominating possession at the Emirates Stadium.
Martin Odegaard would again act as the glue between the midfield and attack, and the Norwegian playmaker’s movement, passing and dribbling skills in tight spots could cause problems to the Wolves backline that has been a tough nut to crack since the start of the season.
Alexandre Lacazette will continue leading the Arsenal lineup, with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka the outlets from the left and right flanks respectively. The pace and power of the Gunners’ front three, coupled with Odegaard’s flair, could make life difficult for Bruno Lage’s side on Thursday.
The return of Gabriel Martinelli from a one-game suspension should be a timely boost for Arteta’s team, although the Brazilian might have to bide his time to get back into the Arsenal lineup again.