4th-place Arsenal take on second-bottom Burnley at the Emirates on Saturday as the Gunners look to right the ship after failing to win in back-to-back Premier League matches.
However, there are still quite a few questions left to be answered in regard to the Arsenal lineup. In some ways, Arsenal are in a bit of a miniature injury crisis. Jurrien Timber, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus, and Emile Smith Rowe will all be unavailable for the next few weeks or more. Bukayo Saka, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Eddie Nketiah, and Martin Odegaard all have knocks that could put their Saturday status in flux.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has relayed that he expects Saka and Tomiyasu to be good to go, but also that Odegaard and Nketiah are “racing against the clock” to be fit in time for the match.
However, only two of the players in doubt were spotted at Arsenal training today – Nketiah and Tomiyasu. This recent update would suggest that Odegaard is unlikely to feature and that Saka may be in more doubt than originally anticipated.
With additional rumours surfacing that Odegaard will not feature for Norway in the upcoming international break, we may have some early indications of what Saturday’s first XI will look like.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
Between the sticks, it’s hard to imagine Arteta going without his new number-one choice, David Raya. Aaron Ramsdale has been struggling to find game time this season, and though this would seem a good match for rotation, Arteta has yet to show he’s ready to select Ramsdale over Raya in the Premier League.
At the back, I would expect only one major change. Oleksandr Zincheko starts over Takehiro Tomiyasu at left back. Given Tomiyasu’s history of aggravating injuries, it’s likely that Arteta may opt to keep Tomiyasu in reserve in favour of Zinchenko. Additionally, Burnley have only scored eight goals this Premier League season – the worst mark in the league – meaning Zinchenko’s defensive shortcomings will be less emphasized.
Gabriel, William Saliba, and Ben White should round out the rest of the defense, as usual. Jakub Kiwior may have an outside shot to feature as well.
Arteta and Arsenal are a bit handcuffed when it comes to their choices in the midfield. With Smith-Rowe, Partey, and likely Odegaard out, the only legitimate midfield option on the bench in contention to start is Fabio Vieria. Thus, I would expect him to feature. Declan Rice will play defensive midfielder, with Kai Havertz, off the back of three good games, and Fabio Vieira ahead of him. The 31-year-old Jorginho will have some well-needed rest.
Arsenal’s front three were firing on all cylinders against Sevilla during the midweek. Gabriel Martinelli dribbled past his man eight times in the match, the most times that has happened in the Champions League in eight years. Bukayo Saka racked up a goal and assist, and Leandro Trossard showed off his lovely centre-forward play by scoring the opening goal. I would expect Saka to be fit and Trossard to get the nod over the recently recovered Eddie Nketiah.
Final Arsenal XI: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Vieira, Havertz, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard