Pepe to start: How Arsenal could line up against Liverpool

Arsenal prepare to return to action after the international break with a match against Liverpool, so let’s take a look at our predicted team.

Even though the Slavia Prague game the following Thursday is arguably much more important, we’re still expecting Mikel Arteta to go as strong as possible against Liverpool this weekend.

For a start, there are five days between the two games. But there’s also the fact we’re just coming out of the international break, meaning many of Arteta’s first-choice side arguably need a game to get going again as a team.

Arsenal also can’t give up on the league entirely. Even if you believe a top-four finish is dead and buried, the other European places are still very much up for grabs with a win against Liverpool and the favourable fixtures afterwards.

Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup for their clash with Liverpool.

Goalkeeper

Despite going away on international duty, Bernd Leno hasn’t had a particularly busy week thanks to Manuel Neuer. He should come back pretty well rested and ready to go with a start against Liverpool, particularly with his penalty heroics in their last meeting.

Defence

The centre-back positions are a pretty easy pick, given Gabriel Magalhaes and David Luiz appear to be first-choice options under Arteta at the moment and neither of them went away on international duty.

Assuming Kieran Tierney is fit after his busy break, he’ll start. The big question is which one of Cedric SoaresHector Bellerin, and Calum Chambers is selected on the right. After Cedric got the nod for the North London derby, perhaps he’s the safest guess.

Midfield

Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka hasn’t had much time off in the last couple of weeks, but he never seems to need very much. He’ll probably come straight back into the Arsenal starting lineup alongside Thomas Partey.

Partey only played one match for Ghana due to Covid restrictions, and it was last Sunday, so he’ll be fairly well-rested.

Martin Odegaard is likely to start ahead of them. Despite an injury scare in his opening game for Norway, he seemed to come through the other two alright and was withdrawn with 10 minutes to go on Tuesday.

Emile Smith Rowe is an injury doubt, so Odegaard remains the most likely choice despite making three international starts.

Forwards

Bukayo Saka had to pull out of international duty with his hamstring problem, whilst Nicolas Pepe only played the first of Ivory Coast’s two international matches, so Pepe looks the more likely to start on the right.

That leaves Alexandre LacazettePierre-Emerick AubameyangWillian, and Gabriel Martinelli as realistic options for the other two positions.

The feeling is that Lacazette will start up front, after a few positive recent displays. But Aubameyang also seems the most likely of the remaining three to make the team. They both started against West Ham, so we’re predicting the same again.

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