Bengaluru, September 1: One of the most anticipated games of the Premier League calendar, the north London derby, arrives just after four matchdays into the schedule this year as Arsenal host rivals Tottenham on Sunday (September 1).
Unai Emery's side were on a roller coaster ride with two wins from their first two matches until Liverpool beat them 3-1 win last weekend at Anfield.
Apart from some defensive lapses, the team has looked good in shape, but injuries have held them back from being at full capacity, making ends meet is a massive tactical burden. However, the squad depth still seems to be good enough to lineup a decent side, especially since Spurs also having injuries to deal with.
Emery has decisions to make in some key areas and must now decide whether to keep faith with the younger players like Joe Willock in his side. The Gunners employed a safety-first midfield diamond at Anfield but against a struggling Tottenham side, there seems a greater possibility that Arsenal might go on the offensive, employing their star trio of Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the first time this season.
We look at their best possible XI who could well make a roaring advancement on their home against arch-rivals:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno is certain to keep his place between the sticks and Emery will be hoping his No.1 is in good form. The German has only kept 1 clean sheet so far this season but only due to the defensive lapses. He has consistently provided vital stops for his side and has shown zero reasons to be dropped for Emiliano Martinez.
Defence: Emery has played in a back four system in all of their games till now and is again expected to implement the same against Spurs. He is likely to again persist with a central defensive partnership of Sokratis and David Luiz, despite the latter's error-strewn display against Liverpool, leaving Calum Chambers on the bench despite his impressive performance against Newcastle United on opening day.
Nacho Monreal's move to Real Sociedad signifies that Sead Kolasinac, who has yet to start a game this season claiming the only left-back position until new signing Tierney recovers from injury. Despite a poor game against Liverpool, Maitland-Niles is likely to cement his position against Spurs as well as Bellerin is still yet to recover from injury.
Midfield: Emery is likely to put in a three man midfield in this game and anchorman Granit Xhaka is definitely the first name to be put in the lineup. Both Guendouzi and Ceballos are expected to feature along side them in that case the casualty will be off youngster Joe Willock's.
Ceballos gets the nod ahead of Mesut Özil in the attacking midfield role as he is more defensive sound. Despite having a difficult time against Liverpool, the Spaniard was good in off the ball movement as well as tackling and the interception and the home faithful will be expecting a similar all-action performance.
Forward: Lacazette was excluded in the starting line-up against Liverpool, with Emery only going for Pepe and Aubameyang as the front two playing in a counter-attacking system. But Emery will have noted how impressive his front three looked in the 10 minutes they shared on the pitch in Merseyside. It seems likely that they will all be starters at the Emirates Stadium.
Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)
Leno; Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos; Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe
Out: Hector Bellerin (knee), Rob Holding (knee), Kieran Tierney (groin), Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin)
Doubtful: Mesut Ozil (lack of fitness)