Arsenal host runaway leaders Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as Mikel Arteta again prepares to front up against former boss Pep Guardiola.
The Gunners have been in decent touch at home in the Premier League, and are unbeaten in their last six. Last time out, they put four past Marcelo Bielsa’s goal friendly Leeds, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claiming the match ball after netting a superb hat-trick.
Things weren’t so easy against Benfica in midweek, and the Gunners were far from their free flowing best in Rome. But a 1-1 draw in the first leg of a Europa League knockout game is nothing to be sniffed at, and confidence should be high ahead of City’s visit – even though they have won an incredible 17 games in a row.
Here’s 90min‘s take on who should start for Arsenal against the champions elect.
Bernd Leno (GK) – The German is Arteta’s number one goalkeeper and has kept an impressive eight clean sheets this season.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – Was impressive going forward against Leeds last weekend and even bagged a goal. Certain to start, but may have to concentrate more on defensive duties on Sunday.
David Luiz (CB) – Not always the safest pair of feet at the back, but Luiz has been a stalwart in the Arsenal side this season. Needs to show his leadership qualities off.
Gabriel (CB) – Has had a solid debut season up to this point, averaging 2.5 ball recoveries per game.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – The Scotsman made his return to action against Benfica on Thursday and, to everyone’s delight, seems ready to start against City.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – Has been Arteta’s most used central midfielder this season and could play a huge role for the Gunners on Sunday with his aggression.
Dani Ceballos (CM) – The Spaniard has put in some good displays of late and was one of his side’s few bright lights on Thursday. Showed tenacity and drive as well as creativity, which could be crucial for Arsenal against City.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – Another player that performed well against Benfica, Smith Rowe showed the ability to pick out space and create – something he’ll need to execute perfectly if the Gunners are going to put the ball past Ederson.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – The youngster is becoming more and more influential at the Emirates. Grabbed the equaliser on Thursday night and will be looked to here for further inspiration.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – Hasn’t featured in Arsenal’s two matches, but Lacazette’s nous and ability to drop deep and link up play could be crucial in retaining possession.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LW) – Was fairly innocuous against Benfica, a far cry from his stellar showing against Leeds. More goals from the captain here would go down a treat.