Mikel Arteta’s job could be on the line as Arsenal lock horns with Tottenham Hotspur in the highly anticipated North London derby on Sunday. The Gunners are winless in the Premier League since a narrow 1-0 triumph against Manchester United more than a month ago. Another mishap this weekend could add to their woes and potentially put Arteta’s position as a manager under heavy scrutiny.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Tottenham Hotspur
Expect Arteta to ring in the changes from the lineup that featured against Rapid Wien. Starting at goal, Bernd Leno should come back into the side, at the expense of Runar Alex Runarsson, who conceded his first goal for Arsenal in midweek.
Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are also guaranteed to return to the starting eleven, replacing Cedric Soares and Sead Kolasinac in the fullback positions. Tierney, however, could act as an auxiliary centre-back to aid the central defenders.
Speaking of which, Arsenal will continue to monitor the fitness of David Luiz, who suffered a head injury against Wolves last weekend. Rob Holding, Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi are all available alternatives for Arteta, even though we do expect the Brazilian to recover in time, thus starting alongside his compatriot Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of the four-man backline.
Thomas Partey is a major doubt heading into this game, but the midfielder is making positive strides towards his recovery. Nonetheless, we expect Granit Xhaka to form the double-pivot alongside Mohamed Elneny.
It means both Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock might have to settle for a place on the bench, with Elneny likely to be preferred due to his superior work-rate and physicality that should come in handy against combative Spurs midfield setup that includes Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Moussa Sissoko.
Bukayo Saka should occupy the additional midfield role on the left flank. He is set to operate as a wide midfielder, looking to provide creativity to the table for Arsenal.
Nicolas Pepe was one of the best performers in Arsenal’s midweek win over Rapid Wien. Unfortunately, the Ivorian is still facing a suspension in the league following his red card against Leeds United.
Alexandre Lacazette, meanwhile, looked impressive, so with Pepe suspended, Arteta could fancy starting with the Frenchman in the number nine role. It should, however, force Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to the left-wing role, with Willian operating on the opposite flank.
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