After a heart-breaking ending to his first home game in charge, Mikel Arteta leads the side out again at the Emirates when Arsenal take on Manchester United on New Year’s Day.
The Gunners almost had the perfect start to life under Arteta, but saw their lead against Chelsea evaporate in the space of a few minutes in the dying embers of the game, with Jorginho and Tammy Abraham capping a turnaround for the west London side.
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But there were plenty of positives to take for the Gunners, not least the way they were defensively organised and far more resilient. As per Sofascore, they restricted Chelsea to just four shots on goal, whilst they also won more aerial duels (17) and made more clearances too (20). Arteta will no doubt be hoping for a similar effort from his back-line, but with greater threat from his forwards.
Despite making a major mistake to lead to Jorginho’s equaliser on Sunday afternoon, Bernd Leno will continue to be Arsenal’s number one. In front of him, Calum Chambers’ unfortunate injury means the Gunners are further stretched at the back, and Shkodran Mustafi may come in from the start to partner David Luiz.
At full-back, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka will remain in place, whilst Granit Xhaka’s future remains up in the air. The Switzerland international has been linked with a move to Hertha Berlin in Germany, and having missed the clash against Chelsea, Arteta may stick with a midfield duo of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.
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In attack, Reiss Nelson could be one change that Arteta decides to make, what with such a turnaround in match-time. Nicolas Pepe could be the main beneficiary of that, and if he does, it will be his first chance to shine from the off under the Spaniard. The Ivorian could therefore help form a rarely-seen attacking quadrant of himself, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.