Key trio return as Emery makes 8 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs West Ham
Arsenal take on West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday lunchtime. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Arsenal will look to keep the pressure on the top four with a win when they take on West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday lunchtime. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno was rested for the FA Cup win at Blackpool last weekend so the German stopper is set to be recalled with Petr Cech dropping back to the bench despite keeping a clean sheet against the League One outfit.
Defence: Emery will make plenty of changes to his side and we should see the return of a back three as several of Arsenal’s defenders are available again. Nacho Monreal has returned to full training after overcoming a niggling hamstring injury and with Sead Kolasinac expected to keep his place in the wing-back position, Emery could deploy Monreal on the left side of the back three as this would give us a nice balance.
Sokratis should retain his place after another commanding display against Blackpool while Shkodran Mustafi may get the nod ahead of Laurent Koscielny after the German returned to full fitness this week. Koscielny has looked extremely rusty since recovering from his long-term absence so Emery may give him a little more time to get back up to full speed.
Midfield: A switch in formation to a back three will see Kolasinac move in to the left wing-back position where he’s looked excellent at times this season for Arsenal and Hector Bellerin should return on the right after recovering from a calf injury. Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be the man to make way.
Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka were rested for the Blackpool game last week so they should be recalled in the middle of the park this weekend with Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey dropping out.
Attack: Mesut Ozil is back in contention after returning to full training following a knee injury but a place on Arsenal’s bench could be waiting for him. Emery has made it pretty clear he doesn’t trust the German in tough away games so I’d be surprised to see Ozil start against West Ham on Saturday.
Alex Iwobi could therefore be given the nod in attack with the Nigerian international playing on the left side after a solid outing in the FA Cup last time out that saw him score the third goal late on.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is almost certain to be recalled after being rested in the cup and it will be interesting to see whether Emery starts Alexandre Lacazette or leaves him on the bench.
The Frenchman was a late sub against Blackpool but he’s always a threat when he’s on the pitch so I think we’ll see Lacazette through the middle with Iwobi and Aubameyang supporting against the Hammers.
Joe Willock will make way after his impressive two-goal display for Arsenal in the FA Cup while Eddie Nketiah will also drop to the bench after a frustrating night that saw him miss three excellent chances against Blackpool.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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