3. Havertz at centre forward
Of course, if Partey starts, there will be no space for Kai Havertz in midfield. Instead, Arteta must start the German as the centre forward.
The Community Shield against City was by far the German’s best outing of the season. He held up the ball very well, got into excellent positions, and was generally a thorn in the side of the defence.
Pep’s men are likely to press high up, so Havertz’s aerial abilities will be very useful. He has been consistently class in this regard, and his hold-up play will be invaluable.
That then leaves Gabriel Jesus free to occupy the right win to replace Saka. He is the only player in the squad who is likely to match Saka’s impact: occupying the full-back and contributing to goals. Jesus didn’t have the most visible showing against AFC Bournemouth in the left winger position but he still played well and represents the least drop-off.
At left wing, Arteta could start either Reiss Nelson or Leandro Trossard. The Belgian offers more certainty of quality, but he was rusty in midweek. He still has a flash of quality in the final third which could lead to a goal or assist, and that makes him a worthy starter.
However, it could be a massive opportunity for Nelson to show what he’s made of. The English winger has not been given enough of a chance, and Arteta starting him would be a big show of faith that could really encourage Nelson. He may also be better at finding Havertz through the middle.
While neither option offers as much as Martinelli, who almost certainly won’t be available, they are the best alternatives.
With this line-up, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe could be devastating from the bench. If the starters tire out the defenders, their relentless running could cause problems.
Overall, I believe that Arsenal have a great chance of beating their nemesis on Sunday, even without Saka and Martinelli. The Gunners will go into the game as underdogs, which should be a good thing for the young side.