Heading into their Premier League finale against Watford without a chance of Europa League qualification may make it seem that Arsenal have nothing to play for but that will not be the case.
With an FA Cup final to prepare for next week [August 1 vs Chelsea], players must ensure they maintain their standards for a chance of starting at Wembley.
“The feeling that you are left with a player today, tomorrow and the next day is what is valuable for the coach,” Mikel Arteta said on how he’d view team selection for the final.
“Not what they done a week or two weeks ago. So they have to try to earn it in every training session and every time they are on the football pitch.
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“Obviously you can sense the hunger and everyone wants to be involved, playing minutes and we’ll have to manage that to get into that position in the best possible condition.”
Arsenal had the extremely positive news that Bernd Leno has returned to training but today’s game will no doubt be too early for a return to the pitch. Emi Martinez will start in goal, looking to continue his impressive run of form since replacing the German.
In defence, Arteta is likely to stick with his three at the back system. Losing Shkodran Mustafi to a season-ending hamstring injury, Rob Holding will come into the side with David Luiz as Sead Kolasinac keeps his place at centre-back.
This will be a result of Kieran Tierney pushing up to left wing-back to give Bukayo Saka a rest before the FA Cup final. The 18-year-old has played an extensive amount of football throughout the season and Arteta has been keen to highlight that he doesn’t want to “risk burning them [out]” which could factor his decision making.
As for the right wing-back position, that will be taken up by Hector Bellerin. The 25-year-old has shown gradual improvement since the restart but the potential of facing a Christian Pulisic in red-hot form at Wembley may see him used today, with either Ainsley Maitland-Niles or Cedric Soares played at Wembley.
The best partnership in the Arsenal midfield has been between Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka which should continue against Watford.
As Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang eyes the Golden Boot for the second season running, he may start in the hope of a goal fest at the Emirates. If that is not the case, however, him being substituted and protected for the final would not be a surprise. He would play off the left as usual.
He currently stands third in the rankings on 20 goals, behind Danny Ings  and Jamie Vardy .
Having started Arsenal’s last four games, and played an energy-sapping role for the team, resting Alexandre Lacazette would be logical ahead of the final. That would also give Eddie Nketiah a chance to get back into his rhythm after returning on the…