Predicted Arsenal line-up to face West Ham in the Premier League
It has been a bad start to the season for the Gunners under their new manager Unai Emery. After a 2-0 loss to Manchester City on the opening day, Arsenal crumbled to a 3-2 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge despite showing a lot of character to fight back from two goals down.
As it stands, Arsenal have failed to collect any points from their first two games and this lacklustre start may come back to haunt them in the latter part of the season if they fall short of a top-four finish.
There have been some positives to take from the two games and Emery should be looking to experiment with his team dynamics to change the club’s fortunes. Arsenal face West Ham at home on Saturday and it si be a must-win game for Arsenal to bring their campaign back on track.
Arsenal were hit hard by the Achilles injury to their first choice centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who will not be available for selection before the end of this year.
Left-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles suffered a minor fracture to his left fibula and is expected to be out for about six to eight weeks. Sead Kolasinac is still nursing his knee injury and will not be back before October.
Emery does not have too many alternatives at the back to experiment with, due to injuries. This is how Arsenal should line up for their weekend clash against the Hammers.
Probable Arsenal XI
Manager: Unai Emery
Petr Cech (GK)
The 36-year-old has been backed to retain his spot as Arsenal’s No.1 ahead of new signing Bernd Leno and the former Chelsea man has not disappointed. Even though he hasn’t particularly looked comfortable with his feet, he made a few good saves against Manchester City and Chelsea. He is expected to retain his position in goal.
Nacho Monreal (LB)
The Spanish international made his first start of the season against Chelsea and looked quite composed and reliable at the back. Emery should be happy to play him, considering that Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac are both out with injuries.
Shkodran Mustafi (CB)
The German has had a torrid start to the season and has looked very shaky at the back. He was turned inside out by the quick and pacy Manchester City attack in the first game. In the second game, he looked out of position at times and failed to combine well with his defensive partners. However, with Koscielny out injured, Mustafi will start.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (CB)
The Greek hasn’t been very solid at the back but has done better than his fellow centre-back Mustafi. He has struggled against quick opponents and has failed to add that much-needed solidity to the backline. However, Emery is likely to hand him a start.
Hector Bellerin (RB)
After a disappointing first game against Manchester City, the Spaniard showed some improvement in the second game. He needs to get better in terms of attack as well as the defence but is expected to start against West Ham.
Matteo Guendouzi (CDM)
The new signing has made a few mistakes but has made up for it with his work rate in the middle of the park. He was impressive with his pressing in the midfield and had a good outing against Chelsea. Emery should give him another start which will help the player to get accustomed to the playing style.
Lucas Torreira (CDM)
The Uruguayan should replace Granit Xhaka in the defensive midfield position as the Swiss international has had a very bad beginning to the season. He lost possession way too easily and failed to add any sort of cohesion to the midfield. Torreira has impressed by coming off the bench and has looked much more comfortable in controlling the tempo. Emery should hand him his first start of the season.
Alex Iwobi (LAM)
The Nigerian international was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up in the previous game but justified his selection by scoring a goal. Overall, he was impressive with his energy and made good runs in the attacking third. Emery should give the youngster another start.
Mesut Ozil (CAM)
The former German international had a bad time against Manchester City where he lost possession very easily but showed a little bit of improvement against Chelsea. Aaron Ramsey has looked decent as well but Emery should opt to start Ozil.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (RAM)
The midfielder has blown hot and cold so far. He did not have any significant impact in the first game but looked more proactive in the second game as he bagged a goal and an assist. Emery is likely to hand a start to the midfielder.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)
Emery has backed the former Borussia Dortmund man to spearhead Arsenal’s attack ahead of Alexandre Lacazette but the Gabon international has failed to repay the manager’s faith in him. He has looked off-colour in both the games and has struggled with his finishing. Although Lacazette has looked more active coming off the bench, Emery is likely to start Aubameyang.