Mikel Arteta was finally forced into rotating his starting XI on Saturday as the Gunners prevailed 2-1 against a resilient Fulham side.
Injuries to Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey ruled them out of the clash, with Kieran Tierney and Mohamed Elneny deputising in their absence.
The fixtures are beginning to come thick and fast for the Gunners and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Arteta rotate further on Wednesday against Aston Villa with a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Aston Villa
Here’s our predicted Arsenal XI for their upcoming Premier League clash at home to Villa in midweek.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – Ramsdale labelled the Emirates atmosphere on Saturday as the best he’s heard since his arrival as he made a couple of big saves to preserve Arsenal’s advantage. He’ll continue between the sticks in this one.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB) – Ben White has done absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, he was excellent against Fulham. But, I think Mikel Arteta will want to give Takehiro Tomiyasu more minutes and this is a decent opportunity to do so.
William Saliba (CB) – Next.
Gabriel (CB) – The quickest of redemption arcs. Saturday’s match-winner atoned for an earlier error and will continue alongside Saliba at centre-back.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – Tierney struggled to live up to Zinchenko’s lofty standards on Saturday, and I’d love to see Arteta return the Scot to his preferred function. Let him get up the pitch as much as possible!
Granit Xhaka (DM) – With Elneny picking up an injury in the win over Fulham and Partey poised to miss the next couple of weeks, Arteta has to reshuffle his midfield pack on Wednesday. The boss has several options, but Xhaka is the most suited to filling in at the base of midfield.
Albert Sambi Lokonga (CM) – Both White and Zinchenko could be used in midfield, but let’s give Sambi a runout eh, Mikel? The young Belgian performed well as an #8 in pre-season and he could either play more advanced in a 4-3-3 or join Xhaka in the double pivot.
Martin 0degaard (CM) – Odegaard’s status in the XI isn’t in doubt. The skipper led from the front on Saturday with a majestic display.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – Saka may well be a contender for the bench, but I think Mikel will stick with our starboy down the right.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – The transformative Jesus blanked on Saturday but he’ll be licking his lips with a vulnerable Villa side coming to town.
Eddie Nketiah (LW) – Eddie’s cameo helped turn the tide on Saturday and he may well have played himself into Arteta’s XI. The forward is adept off the left, but the marauding runs of Tierney mean he’ll practically play alongside Jesus.