Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews Sporting Lisbon
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta could make as many as four changes for Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace, with the Gunners sweating over the fitness of William Saliba before welcoming the Eagles to the Emirates Stadium. The French defender, who has started every Premier League match for Arsenal so far this season, was forced off in the early stages of Thursday’s shoot-out defeat to Sporting and will be assessed prior to kick-off this afternoon.
Express Sport takes a look at the Arsenal side that could be tasked with claiming all three points against managerless Palace later today…
Goalkeeper – Ramsdale
Aaron Ramsdale will almost certainly take up his usual role between the sticks against Palace and will be hoping for another fine performance in order to help the north Londoners to seal another important victory on home soil. He has managed to keep 12 clean sheets in the Premier League since the beginning of the campaign and will be looking to shut out today’s opponents for the second match in a row after last weekend’s simple win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
It will be a tricky task for Palace to break down Arsenal’s defensive unit in order to trouble Ramsdale over the course of today’s game, with the Eagles having failed to score a single league goal since mid-February.
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Defence – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko
Takehiro Tomiyasu will likely miss out against Palace after suffering an injury in midweek, which could see Ben White make his return on the right-hand side of Arsenal’s back four. It also remains to be seen whether Saliba will be passed fit to feature this afternoon, with the 21-year-old a sure-fire starter for the Gunners whenever he is able to play.
He could be joined at the back by his usual defensive partner in Gabriel Magalhaes, while Oleksandr Zinchenko should be deployed in the left-back role ahead of Kieran Tierney.
Midfield – Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard
Thomas Partey has undoubtedly been one of Arsenal’s most important assets over the course of this season and is another nailed-on starter when fit to play, as is Granit Xhaka, who is likely to line up alongside his Ghanaian team-mate in the engine room against Palace at the Emirates Stadium.
Martin Odegaard, meanwhile, will be expecting to keep his place in Arteta’s first-choice midfield trio after running the show against Fulham last time around.
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Attack – Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
Bukayo Saka was rested against Sporting earlier this week, with Reiss Nelson coming into the side but failing to justify his continued selection for the return of Premier League football. It would not be a surprise to see Saka return to action on the wing against Palace as a result, while Gabriel Martinelli will be firmly expected to line up on the opposite flank.
Further forward, it seems evident that Gabriel Jesus will be leading the line for Arsenal, with the Brazilian set to be on the lookout for an immediate return to his very best form after drawing a blank in midweek.
Possible Arsenal XI (4-3-3) – Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.
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