Arsenal take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. This is the team I’d like to see Mikel Arteta select for the game…
Alex Runarsson had the easiest debut he could have wished for against Dundalk but obviously Bernd Leno will be recalled in goal after being rested for the Europa League group stage victory.
Arteta stuck with the same set-up of a back three when out of possession with Granit Xhaka dropping-in alongside Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac. Personally, I think it’s too negative and would rather we focussed on playing a more progressive 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation.
We have a lack of centre-backs with David Luiz ruled out and Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Rob Holding all still lacking fitness. Sokratis and William Saliba are also not eligible [that’s back-fired!] so we have very little choice in the middle of defence other than to go with Mustafi and Gabriel.
Kieran Tierney should be recalled to start at left-back while Hector Bellerin will come in on the right with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Cedric Soares making way after very average displays on Thursday night.
In midfield, I’d recall Thomas Partey to start along with Xhaka and Dani Ceballos. Joe Willock did extremely well against Dundalk but I think away to Man Utd we should leave him on the bench with Partey, Xhaka and Ceballos getting the nod. I still don’t think we have the right balance in the middle of the park as there is a lack of creativity but that’s something that needs to be addressed in the market.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will obviously be recalled and no doubt Arteta will continue to play him from the left. It’s worked for the most part but with Alexandre Lacazette in poor form it makes sense to play Auba centrally. Plus, it would allow Bukayo Saka to also play in his best position.
We have plenty of options on the right side of the Arsenal attack. Nicolas Pepe did well against Dundalk and scored a superb goal while Reiss Nelson looked very dangerous at times so they should both be in Arteta’s thoughts.
However, this is a huge game and we may need an experienced head to play along with Saka in attack so I’d opt for Willian. Pepe, Nelson and Eddie Nketiah can all fight for places on the bench.
This would be my line-up: