Just three days before the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season, Arsenal have been dealt a major blow with the neck injury to David Luiz.
football.london understand the extent of the injury is still being assessed by the club. As first reported by The Athletic, the neck problem was sustained during the Community Shield win over Liverpool on August 29.
Furthermore, a Sky Sports video feed of Arsenal training also revealed that Luiz was not among the training squad ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage.
Without Luiz available for the near future at least, football.london looks at the different possibilities Mikel Arteta will have when deciding how to shape his side against Fulham on the opening day and beyond.
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Throughout pre-season, Arteta has been very comfortable in sticking with the 3-4-3 which served Arsenal so well after the restart last season. The system was used in the friendly against MK Dons and the Community Shield win over Liverpool, however, there wasn’t an indication on the shape used against Aston Villa.
Luiz featured in the latter two games and was used in the middle of the back three against Liverpool. On the day Rob Holding played as the right-sided centre-back but that role is more likely to be taken by William Saliba, who impressed there on his non-competitive Gunners debut at MK Dons.
As a result Holding could take Luiz’s middle spot – where he excelled at times after the restart.
Currently, the most assured setup for Arsenal has seen Kieran Tierney used as a left-sided centre-back with Ainsley Maitland-Niles as the left wing-back. While the Scot offers composure and another point of attack from his more central area, Maitland-Niles has proven to be of great importance down the left. In possession, he can occupy the half-spaces which are harder for…