Arsenal looks to make it two in a row with Sheffield United coming up next. Here’s how Mikel Arteta should deploy the troops to make it a reality.
Arsenal finally found their winning ways against Southampton, and for the most part, it was a comprehensive victory. An early goal, a strong defensive showing, and a late goal to put it all away. It’s what we’d been expecting to see since the season got going again but what has eluded us so wholly.
With very little time in between, we now move into yet another away match against Sheffield United. This is a match that has way more significance than the surface value of the team’s involved. If the Gunners win, they vault over Sheffield and stay within striking distance of the top five.
But Sheffield is looking to accomplish the same. With even a draw, they can keep pressure on the top five, but a win puts them in a good place to keep pace and be in even better striking position than the Gunners would be.
It wouldn’t be easy, and it’s made even tougher when you consider how many injuries the Gunners are dealing with. Bernd Leno is obviously still out, along with Gabriel Martinelli. Kieran Tierney will be assessed before the match after picking up a knock of his own, Pablo Mari remains out for the year and Calum Chambers isn’t ready to come back yet.
On the bright side, Granit Xhaka is healthy again. David Luiz will also be available for selection, but I don’t think anyone should be expecting to see him return to the starting XI so easily. It’ll also be curious to see if Matteo Guendouzi makes an appearance.
So many things to think about, so few definitive things to count on. But there are options aplenty, even on the short break, and Arteta will be able to put a team out there that’s hungry to keep the momentum going.
We should be expecting a 4-2-3-1 again. Arteta has been fairly consistent with that, even if he did venture into a little three-back structure against Southampton.
We start in goal.
With Leno out, Emi Martinez will keep his job. He’s been quite good since stepping into the role. Nothing to fear here.
On to the centerbacks