Defeat to Brighton has toned down the significance of this fixture for Arsenal, but Nottingham Forest still need points to ensure they retain their top-flight status.
Forest’s recent upsurge, in which they’ve accumulated seven points from their last four, has seen them take a giant leap towards safety, and a win on Saturday would guarantee their survival.
They’ll fancy their chances against a flat Gunners outfit whose title dream was all but dashed last weekend. Mikel Arteta will want his players to fight until the very end, but Man City will likely be lifting the Premier League trophy aloft come Sunday evening.
The Arsenal boss will be without several key names for Saturday’s trip to the City Ground after Gabriel Martinelli joined the injury list, and it’ll be interesting to see what changes he makes to his starting XI. It’s a tough team to predict.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Nottingham Forest
Nevertheless, here’s the starting XI Arteta could pick for Saturday’s game at Forest.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – It looks like Rambo won’t be ending the season with the Golden Glove, but he’ll be looking to add another away clean sheet to his repertoire this weekend.
Ben White (RB) – White was torched by Kaoru Mitoma on Sunday amid his poorest showing of the season. He’s played a LOT of football this term, but Arteta has no choice but to stick with the Englishman at right-back.
Jakub Kiwior (CB) – Kiwior has undoubtedly been an improvement on Rob Holding, but he’s not even close to William Saliba’s lofty level. Nevertheless, the Polish international will continue at centre-back.
Gabriel (CB) – The Brazilian starts again. No Arsenal outfielder has racked up more Premier League minutes this season than Gabriel (3,231).
Kieran Tierney (LB) – Tierney will surely be looking to have more of an impact in the final third at the City Ground after Brighton dominated proceedings last time out.
Thomas Partey (DM) – Jorginho has done little wrong since coming back into the team, but I could see Arteta changing things up again in midfield despite Partey’s awful showing off the bench against Brighton.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – I initially thought the boss would give Xhaka a breather, but seeing as the title dream isn’t officially over, he’ll likely keep the Swiss international in as opposed to starting the more creative Fabio Vieira or Emile Smith Rowe.
Martin Odegaard (CM) – Odegaard was neutralised by the Seagulls which largely inhibited Arsenal’s collective showing in possession. Last Sunday’s defeat showed just important the skipper is to the Gunners’ success.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – It was another unproductive outing for Saka last weekend and I’d really like to see him given a prolonged rest starting with these two final games. Arteta has alternate options, but the Spaniard will undoubtedly continue with his knackered starboy.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – Leandro Trossard’s sub-par display against his former club reduced his chances of earning a start this weekend. Jesus produced a couple of tidy sequences against the Seagulls, and he’ll be looking to conclude the campaign productively.
Reiss Nelson (LW) – Martinelli’s ankle injury will see him miss the remainder of the season which means a spot has opened up down Arsenal’s left. While Trossard is ahead of Nelson in the pecking order, the latter’s recent bright displays off the bench should finally see him earn a Premier League start.