How Arsenal’s starting XI could look once the new season arrives

After falling short of their aim to qualify for the Champions League next season, Arsenal simply have to improve their defence and wing departments ahead of the new campaign.

Reports in recent months have suggested the club’s transfer budget will be incredibly limited and so Unai Emery’s side will have to do some shrewd business if they are to return to the promised land next season.

Their opening Premier League game of the season sees them take on Newcastle at St James’ Park, and with just over a month to go before it kicks-off, the Gunners team could undergo some dramatic changes. We’ve had a go at predicting how they might look.

After initially finding himself as second-choice to Petr Cech last season, Bernd Leno never really looked back following the former Chelsea star’s injury early in the campaign. The German made the number one position his own and should be the Gunners’ goalkeeper for years to come.

In front of him, Hector Bellerin is unlikely to make his comeback from injury in time for the opening weeks of the season so Ainsley Maitland-Niles will more than likely step up in his absence again. On the other flank, Kieran Tierney appears to be Arsenal’s first-choice target for the left-back slot and would represent a major upgrade on the likes of Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal.

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At centre-back, Sokratis enjoyed an impressive debut campaign at the Emirates but the man to partner him is still up for debate. Reports in recent weeks have suggested the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers will be moved on, whilst club captain Laurent Koscielny has been linked with a return to his native France. That could mean Rob Holding comes straight into the line-up having made his return to training from his own knee injury.

In midfield, the Gunners looked a solid outfit with Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira in the engine room, though there are question marks over whether Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi’s international commitments this summer might see them eased back into action.

Despite settling on a back-five last season, Unai Emery’s preferred formations throughout his managerial career have been the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3. If the Gunners do return to the former next season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might line up from the left-hand side once again, as he did eight times last year.

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The right flank is where things truly get interesting. The club are well-known to be on the look-out for another winger and reports have claimed Emery’s side are intent on signing Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. If they can somehow afford the big-money deal, the Ivorian will no doubt be a fixture amongst the starting eleven.

Finally, with no real interest coming in, Mesut Ozil may still find himself at the Emirates for the opening game at St James’ Park, and could play behind the side’s Player of the Season last year in Alexandre Lacazette.

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