Arsenal face Barcelona at the Camp Nou for the Juan Gamper Trophy on Sunday. The friendly game will conclude the club’s pre-season campaign and manager Unai Emery is likely to field the best possible lineup against the Catalan giants.
Damian Martinez played in goal during the recent friendly against Angers with Bernd Leno not making the travelling squad itself. However, Leno will be expected to start between the sticks against the Spanish champions.
In the defence, Emery is likely to make changes from the previous outing with Zech Medley and Shkodran Mustafi among those, who could drop to the bench. Sokratis Papastathopoulos should partner Calum Chambers at the heart of the backline with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nacho Monreal taking up the right and left-back positions respectively.
Emery has the option of fielding Sead Kolasinac on the left side of the defence, but it remains to be seen whether the Bosnian will start, given he has missed the past two games against Lyon and Angers after the car-jacking incident.
For the midfield duties, Granit Xhaka should return to the starting lineup against the Blaugrana. He could be accompanied by Dani Ceballos, who should have built up his fitness since joining the club eight days ago. The Spaniard caught the fans’ attention with a 20-minute cameo in the Emirates Cup but did not make the squad for the Angers clash.
In the attack, Mesut Ozil could be restricted to a bench role unless he has overcome mentally following the recent car-jacking incident, where he was together with Kolasinac. In this case, Henrikh Mkhitaryan could take up the number 10 role ahead of him with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left wing, while Reiss Nelson could feature on the opposite flank after finding the net in the recent friendly against Angers.
Upfront, Alexandre Lacazette is likely to replace Eddie Nketiah after returning to training following a minor ankle sprain. Elsewhere, record signing Nicolas Pepe could be restricted to a cameo role at best, given he may need a few more days of training to get up to regular speed.
Predicted XI: Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Reiss Nelson, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette