Arsenal supporters will be hoping for a stress-free outing on Saturday afternoon as the Gunners host bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.
There’s no such thing as an ‘easy’ game in the Premier League, but Arsenal could breeze their upcoming bout given the Blades’ wretched start to the season. Paul Heckingbottom’s side have lost eight of their nine games and boast the joint-worst defensive record in the division.
While Mikel Arteta’s title hopefuls haven’t been at their fluent best thus far, Arsenal have still racked up 21 points from their opening nine games. They seem primed to challenge City once again, and they must make cakewalks of fixtures such as these.
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Sheffield United
Here’s how Arteta could set his Arsenal side up this weekend.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
David Raya (GK) – Despite enduring another outing where he failed to convince, Raya should remain between the sticks on Saturday.
Ben White (RB) – Arteta could make a change here, but I think he’ll stick with his tried and trusted lieutenant at right-back.
William Saliba (CB) – There are no doubts about Saliba’s place in the team. The Frenchman has made a brilliant start to the campaign.
Gabriel (CB) – Like Saliba, Gabriel has barely put a foot wrong all season.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – Takehiro Tomiyasu was superb in Seville, but I expect Arteta to return Zinchenko to the team given that Arsenal will be expected to monopolise possession.
Declan Rice (DM) – Rice has produced dominant performances in this role already this season, and I’d like to see Arteta deploy him at the base alongside Zinchenko in possession. Thomas Partey is once again an injury doubt.
Emile Smith Rowe (CM) – ESR’s enjoyed a slight uptick in minutes in recent weeks, but is yet to earn a Premier League start this term. With Gabriel Jesus’ potential absence forcing a reshuffle up top, the Englishman could finally get his chance on Saturday.
Martin Odegaard (CM) – Some have suggested Odegaard to be dropped for this game, but this is surely the perfect occasion for the skipper to restore some confidence having performed poorly on either side of the October break.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – Saka looks battered and bruised, but he’s a sure bet to start again this weekend.
Kai Havertz (ST) – With Jesus a doubt and Eddie Nketiah failing to dazzle in recent cameo appearances, Arteta could deploy Havertz up top. The German has been used as a target man in recent weeks, and his aerial ability could come in handy against a deep Sheffield United defence.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – Martinelli scored on his Champions League debut in midweek and will surely continue in the team. Leandro Trossard will get a chance in the Carabao Cup next week.