The biggest fixture so far in the Premier League features tomorrow as Arsenal host local rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The Gunners head into the historical event off the back of a disappointing and yet expected result at Anfield. And with injuries holding them very far back from being at full capacity, making ends meet is a massive tactical burden.
However the squad depth seems to be good enough to conjure up a decent side, especially since the visiting side also have injuries to deal with.
Here’s what Unai Emery might line up keeping injured names in mind:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno
The German has only kept 1 cleansheet so far this season but only due to the defensive setup failing him constantly. Bernd Leno has consistently provided vital stops for his side and has shown zero reasons to be dropped for Emiliano Martinez.
There’s a better chance of Arsenal winning the league this season than Leno not starting.
Right-back: Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Though Hector Bellerín has made tremendous recovery from his surgery lately, he won’t be back in time for the derby. Thus, Ainsley Maitland-Niles continues on the right flank.
Callum Chambers would be the only option after the Englishman but due to his lack of recent experience in that position, choosing him wouldn’t be wise. Besides, Chambers offers very little offensively though he is definitely more sound defensively than Maitland-Niles.
Centre-backs: Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz
David Luiz had some sticky moments against Liverpool last weekend. But that seemed to boil down to how good Jürgen Klopp set up his pressing system. The Brazilian’s distribution could be key in unlocking Nicolas Pepe.
Sokratis’ leadership is needed in the back-line. With Rob Holding still not ready for first-team football yet, he’s the Londoners’ next best option.
Left-back: Sead Kolasinac
With Nacho Monreal confirmed to have departed for Real Sociedad today, Emery is left with only one fit left-back in the entire squad.
Sead Kolasinac is the only option available and is thus expected to start.
Midfielders: Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Dani Ceballos
Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi have been nothing but impressive this season. But it can’t be denied how obvious their inexperience is in big games. Surely, the gaffer must’ve noticed that, which is why Lucas Torreira is expected to start.
The Uruguayan showed without him there is zero security in midfield against Liverpool. Besides, Granit Xhaka is twice the player when paired up alongside him.
Deploying Dani Ceballos as a No. 10 didn’t exactly go well or as expected by certain pesudo-intellectuals who jumped to the conclusion that Mesut Özil has been outdone permanently by the new arrival. The Spaniard lacks the instinctual final third passes expected of a No. 10 and thus should be continued to be played as a No. 8, where he showed the most promise.
A cameo appearance from Özil would not be surprising if Ceballos fails to beat the physicality of English football again.
Forwards: Nicolas Pépé, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal clearly lack the deadly final third passes from midfielders without Özil, thus 2 striker system is bound to be ineffective.
To accommodate Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be deployed out wide again with record signing Nicolas Pépé playing in his natural right-wing position.
Lacazette is expected to level up his game now that he has a natural winger next to him.