Arsenal kicked off their season with a narrow but rewarding victory against Newcastle as they prevailed 1-0.
They will face Burnley at the Emirates Stadium in their next game, and Unai Emery has some decisions to make in regards to his starting line-up. Here, we try to predict the Gunners’ first XI for the game against the Clarets.
The goalkeeper’s position, once again, chooses itself. Bernd Leno will keep his place from the Newcastle game and start between the nets.
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Sead Kolasinac has had a difficult time recently following the terrifying incident that took place on July 25th. However, Emery has said that both the Bosnian and Mesut Ozil are “100% ready” to play this weekend. With Kieran Tierney still unavailable, the 26-year-old should play from the beginning.
Keeping a clean sheet in a potentially awkward opening fixture against the Toon was down, in part, to solid performances from Calum Chambers and Sokratis. The argument could be made that both deserve to keep their places, but with David Luiz having signed, that is unlikely to happen. It is unfortunate on Chambers, but he should be the one to drop out for the 32-year-old.
On the right side of the defence, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the obvious choice. He had a fantastic game on Sunday and Hector Bellerin is yet to return from injury.
In midfield, Granit Xhaka is a doubt with a lower back and leg injury. That could mean a starting debut for Dani Ceballos. Alongside him in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Emery has a decision to make. Mateo Guendouzi played well last week, but Lucas Torreira may just get the nod.
Further forward, expect Nicolas Pepe to make his maiden start. He was on the bench and played just 19 minutes against Newcastle, but having cost £72m, surely Emery cannot afford to keep him out of the action.
Ozil has also had a few weeks to forget but, following his manager’s comments, he should come in. There is a difficult decision to make on the left but, in an effort to have both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the same team, the latter could play out on the left-wing.
Which would leave the France international to start up front. He now appears to have fully recovered from a knock and, as such, could be given the nod to lead the line.