Arsenal finally appear to be gaining positive moment after their disappointing return to football with two successive away wins at Southampton and Sheffield United.
Having booked their ticket to Wembley, where they’ll face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final, the Gunners prepare for their first game at Emirates Stadium since March 7.
Mikel Arteta’s side will be facing Norwich City come Wednesday night [July 1], and with their chances of Champions League qualification extremely slim, focus may switch to Europa League football. Either way, maintaining their winning run will be essential.
We asked our writers to name the starting lineups they would pick on Wednesday evening and this is what they said.
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Art de Roche – Arsenal writer
Emi Martinez has hardly put a foot wrong since replacing Bernd Leno in goal. The 27-year-old’s concentration levels have been excellent in both his starts, as proven in his saves late on at Southampton and Sheffield United, but his distribution has also been a real asset. He will start but must keep up this strong start to continue to prove he is good enough to be a first choice option.
Arteta used a three-man defence yet again at Bramall Lane, which worked well for the most part. With David Luiz coming off injured, however, and Sead Kolasinac not looking at all promising, switching back to the trio that impressed at St. Mary’s may be best.
Mustafi does well in his role on the right, Rob Holding is well suited to play as the middle-man, and Kieran Tierney displayed supreme composure as the left-sided centre-back. The Scot may be more natural as the wing-back but was miles more assuring than Kolasinac in the centre-back role.
This will allow Saka to take the role as the left-wing back to be a constant nuisance down Norwich’s right. As for the right wing-back position, now may be a good time to see what Cedric Soares can offer. Ainsley Maitland-Niles proved once again why Arteta is so intent on using him there but Cedric has been in full training and a home debut feels as though it could be a much smoother introduction than Wolves away.
Neither Dani Ceballos or Joe Willock have really grasped the central midfield role so Maitland-Niles moves infield to prove himself in his preferred position after his impressive display at Bramall Lane.
Rotation will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah return on the left and through the middle, whereas Nicolas Pepe keeps his place on the right to build on his positive momentum.
Art de Roche’s XI: Martinez; Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Cedric, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Saka; Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang
Tashan Deniran-Alleyne – Live writer and Arsenal fan
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