Mikel Arteta has decided to hand official debuts to Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian as Arsenal begin their Premier League season with a trip to Fulham, while Emi Martinez misses out on being in the matchday squad.
Bernd Leno starts in goal and will be shielded by Rob Holding, Gabriel and Kieran Tierney who make up a back three. They will have support from Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the wing-back positions.
Mohamed Elneny keeps his place in midfield after an impressive pre-season alongside Granit Xhaka. Willian starts off the right with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left and Alexandre Lacazette throw the middle.
The bench is Matt Macey, Sead Kolasinac, Dani Ceballos, Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah. No William Saliba.
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Arsenal will be optimistic heading into the new season with the momentum built from their FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs under Mikel Arteta but ahead of today’s game, they were dealt major injury blows in defence.
Currently, the Gunners have eight centre-backs on the books but following the recent injuries to David Luiz [neck spasm] and Sokratis [calf strain], they have just three natural centre-backs [Rob Holding, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes] available for the start of the season.
“We have a few issues around the squad and that’s something normal that we try to adapt,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference before addressing his recent additions to the squad.
“We’ve been trying with the players that we have fit at the moment, it’s not ideal to start the season with key players out. But again, we have enough players, really good players and tomorrow we will put the best possible plan to win our first game.
“They’ve [Willian and Saliba] been training really well. They’ve been adapting quickly, they are really…