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How Arsenal could line up vs Manchester City

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Arsenal return to Premier League action with a match against Manchester City on Sunday, so let’s take a look at our predicted lineup.

 

With the Benfica Europa League tie still very much in the balance at 1-1, Arsenal have to briefly shift their focus to facing the Premier League leaders.

 

Manchester City are 10 points clear at the top of the table on the back of a 17-game winning streak, defeating Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal during that run. So this game is evidently no big deal.

 

 

Given the busy schedule at the moment, and the fact he’s just named the same team twice in a row, we’re expecting a few changes for this one.

 

Here’s our predicted Arsenal lineup to face Manchester City.

 

Goalkeeper:

Bernd Leno will start as usual. After his run of clean sheets at the start of the year, he’s gone a couple of games without one, but you can hardly blame him given the chances he’s faced.

 

Mat Ryan should make the bench.

 

Defence

After his substitute appearance on Thursday, this would be a good time to reintroduce Kieran Tierney. Getting him up to speed ahead of a tough fixture list is key.

 

Rob Holding could come back in to give David Luiz a rest, but we’re predicting another start for Gabriel Magalhaes at left-centre-back. You never know, but Manchester City doesn’t seem like the best game to reintroduce Pablo Mari after injury.

 

Hector Bellerin will likely start at right-back. He hasn’t had a rest for a while, but neither has Cedric Soares. One of them has to play.

 

Midfield

We’re not expecting many changes in the middle, largely due to the lack of alternatives.

 

At least one of Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe have to start in the number 10 position, and Smith Rowe is probably more in need of a rest, so Odegaard will keep his spot.

 

Without Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny is the only real option to replace Granit Xhaka or Dani Ceballos. But Partey should be back before too long to give Ceballos a rest, and Xhaka rarely seems to need one, so we’re predicting them both to start again for now.

 

Forwards

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an off game on Thursday, and whilst he’s sure to bounce back, it’s probably a good time to give him a rest and bring Alexandre Lacazette back in.

 

Similarly, Nicolas Pepe can offer Smith Rowe a break on the left.

 

We’re clearly getting into the territory of overplaying Bukayo Saka a bit, but Arsenal also just can’t afford to rotate their entire front three at once.

 

Taking Saka out would probably mean moving Pepe to the right (despite playing all his recent games on the left), and putting Willian or Gabriel Martinelli on the left, which is a lot of changes at once. So we’re predicting another start for Saka.

Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Man City

Predicted Lineup Arsenal Vs Man City

 

 

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Kieran Tierney could captain Arsenal in the future, claims Ray Parlour

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 Kieran Tierney could captain Arsenal in the future, claims Ray Parlour

Ray Parlour has praised Kieran Tierney’s attitude and desire, and believes the left-back has the credentials to captain Arsenal in the future.

The Scotland international, who joined the Gunners in the summer of 2019 from Celtic, has been one of Mikel Arteta’s side’s most consistent performers this season, with his marauding displays from full-back proving to be a useful attacking asset.

Tierney has also registered two goals across all competitions this season, including a vital left-footed strike to spark his side’s dramatic comeback against Benfica in the Europa League last week.

Kirean Tierney Celebrates after getting on the score sheet for Arsenal against Benfica in the Europa League

Tierney’s attacking impetus down the left has been vital for Arteta’s side.

And Parlour is in agreement with fellow Gunners legends such as Ian Wright and Tony Adams that Tierney could captain the club in the future.

‘I really like his attitude,’ Parlour told talkSPORT. ‘He turns up every week, you can see the desire when he’s playing; he really wants to win every game.

‘He gives 100 per cent and is fantastic down that left-hand side. That’s where Arsenal are most dangerous, that’s where the deliveries come from into the box.

‘He’s been a brilliant signing, and he’s a really good lad as well; he’s really down to earth. ‘He could probably be the Arsenal captain in the future.’

Arteta himself also recently talked up Tierney’s attributes which could lead to him eventually becoming captain.

‘I think he can be Arsenal captain as he has the respect and admiration of every member of the staff and every player,’ said the Spanish boss in January.

‘It is just the way he is. He does it in a natural way. ‘He is a really shy boy as well but he represents all of us in the club; all of the values that we want to instil and are in the DNA in this club.’

 

 

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Loan Watch: Mikel Arteta reveals ‘good news’ on Arsenal star William Saliba

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says William Saliba’s loan spell at Nice is ‘good news’ for the Gunners as the club will have a ‘much better perception’ of how to use the defender next season.

The Frenchman agreed to join the club in a £30m deal in 2019 but spent a further season with Saint-Etienne before moving to the Emirates last summer.

However, while Saliba was held up as the answer to the club’s issues at centre-back, Arteta did not share the view of supporters and failed to give the 20-year-old a single start in the first team.

 

Saliba in Action For OGC Nice

After a frustrating period with the U23s, Saliba requested to leave on loan in January and he joined Ligue 1 side Nice until the end of the campaign.

Saliba’s impressed back in France, playing ten times in all competitions.

Arsenal loaned fellow youngster Konstantinos Mavropanos to Stuggart in a bid to get him first team football and Arteta says the pair’s loan spells are ‘good news’ for the Gunners moving forward.

‘We are having meetings very often to assess what they are doing,’ said Arteta when asked if he’s keeping tabs on the progress of Mavropanos and Saliba.

‘Obviously we are getting all the information and watching their games because I want to keep a very close eye on what they are doing.

‘We are in contact with the players and let’s see. It’s good news that they’re playing and good news that they have the possibility to have a lot of minutes, because that’s going to give us a much better perception of where they are and how we can use them.’

Arsenal are set to offer David Luiz a 12-month contract extension as Arteta values the veteran’s experience. Arteta has reintegrated Pablo Mari into his starting XI in recent weeks, with the Spaniard partnering Rob Holding or Gabriel in the heart of his defence.

A decision over Saliba’s future will be made at the end of the season, with Nice keen to keep the Frenchman for another season.

 

 

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Just In: Arteta provides positive Emile Smith Rowe injury update

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The midfielder was forced off in the first half against Leicester

Mikel Arteta says the muscle injury Emile Smith Rowe sustained in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Leicester City last weekend ‘doesn’t look significant’.

The 20-year-old was forced off shortly before half-time at the King Power Stadium and replaced by Martin Odegaard.

Smith Rowe has played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s attack in recent months, providing four assists in 12 Premier League games since his introduction into the first team at the end of December.

Arteta’s side head into their clash against Burnley in 10th position in the table

And speaking ahead of the Gunners’ clash against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday, Arteta played down the severity of the midfielder’s injury despite not revealing whether he would be able to feature this weekend.

‘Emile had a scan yesterday, it doesn’t look a significant injury but he was in discomfort,’ said Arteta. ‘For the rest, hopefully everybody should be okay.’

The Gunners are currently down in 10th place in the table and eight points off the top four after losing 11 of their 26 Premier League games this season.

When asked whether his side can still secure a finish in the Champions League places, Arteta replied: ‘Well the aim is to go on and beat Burnley, we have been chasing [a top-four place] for a while but it is not in our hands.

‘The only thing we can control is our own results and performances. We are fully determined to do that better than what we have done in the past eight months.’

 

 

 

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