Goalkeeper & Defenders
Leno will, as always, be starting in net. He was trusted during the Europa League, and he’ll be trusted now. Expect an exciting battle between the German and his former understudy; both will be on top form.
In deference to Arteta’s back four in possession, I’m declaring Hector Bellerin a right-back for this game, as opposed to a wing-back. Realistically though, he’ll operate slightly further forward out of possession, and will likely be tasked with the permanent handful that is Jack Grealish. It’ll be a great battle, and I’m especially excited for him to fly forwards like he did against Man Utd.
Holding will start, for three reasons. One, he’s earned it. Two, Arteta trusts him to lead the defensive line. Three, he didn’t play in the Europa League, and he’s fully fit. He’s been exemplary in recent weeks, long may it continue.
Who else? He’ll shift into the center to make room for our left-back, who will drop into an LCB role off the ball. And expect him to have a flyer, as per usual.
No explanation necessary. I love him, you love him, he’ll start if he’s healthy. On to the midfield.