Sunday, October 2, 2022

Partey Starts While Ceballos, Xhaka Miss Out | Strongest Possible Arsenal Lineup So Far This Season

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Arsenal head into the international break with a layer of uncertainty following a topsy turvy campaign under Mikel Arteta that saw them slump to four losses in the Premier League. But there have been some positive signs and here at The 4th Official, we will take a look at the strongest possible Arsenal lineup based purely on performances this season.

Strongest Possible Arsenal Lineup So Far This Season

Defence

Among all the Arsenal defenders, new signing Gabriel Magalhaes has been the most consistent one this season. He has genuinely added more composure and solidity to the backline while also impressing the onlookers with his brilliant range of passing.

Gabriel has struggled, at times, without an experienced defensive partner, which is where David Luiz gets the nod ahead of Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi. The two seem to have established a good partnership at central defence and are, therefore, automatic starters in this lineup.

Elsewhere, there is simply no competition for Hector Bellerin at right-back while Kieran Tierney should also get the nod ahead of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac as the other two have barely played for Arsenal so far this campaign.

Bernd Leno is another undisputed starter in goal, ahead of Runar Alex Runarsson, who has featured in just one game so far.

Strongest Possible Arsenal Lineup So Far This Season - Leno ahead of Runarsson.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 01: Bernd Leno of Arsenal celebrates after the penalty shoot out during the Carabao Cup fourth round match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 01, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Football Stadiums around United Kingdom remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Byrne – Pool/Getty Images)

Midfield

Mikel Arteta has favoured a three-man midfield unit this season, with the additional midfielder mostly operating on the left.

Bukayo Saka has usually been the player to operate in that role, so he is an automatic inclusion into this setup, ahead of Joe Willock and Maitland-Niles.

In central midfield, however, things do get tricky as both Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos have failed to replicate last season’s performances so far. Therefore, we favour the central midfield combination of Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey, though this duo has only played together twice.

Attack

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been greatly misused by Arteta in that left-wing role. Unfortunately, Arsenal seem to have no other alternatives other than Saka, who has already been deployed in midfield.

Hence, Aubameyang retains his place on the left-hand side, but we have a surprise inclusion in Reiss Nelson on the opposite flank as neither Nicolas Pepe nor Willian have managed to provide any sort of penetration for Arsenal moving forward this season.

Nelson may have had only one good game this season, but the Englishman is far more direct when compared to Pepe and Willian.

And finally, the Arsenal attack should be spearheaded by Eddie Nketiah, rather than Alexandre Lacazette, whose incompetency in the number nine role has hurt the team this season.

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