Arsenal are scheduled to face Watford on the road in their first game following the international break. The north London giants have picked up just one point in the past two league games and manager Unai Emery will hoping for a strong response from his players against the Hornets, who are presently at the bottom of the standings.
Dinos Mavropanos, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding have all returned to full training after their respective injury setbacks but none of them will feature at the weekend. Alexandre Lacazette, meanwhile, has been sidelined until the end of the month as he requires more rest to overcome a niggling ankle problem picked up in pre-season.
Bernd Leno is certain to feature between the sticks against Watford. The Germany international has not kept a clean sheet since the curtain-raiser and he will surely be aiming for a better performance than in the north London derby, where his mistake contributed to the opening Spurs goal.
In the backline, no changes are likely with full-backs Bellerin and Tierney still lacking match sharpness. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac can be expected to slot into the right and left side of the defence with David Luiz once more partnering Sokratis Papastathopoulos in the central defensive department.
Granit Xhaka complained about a minor Achilles problem on international duty but that has not been mentioned in the pre-match injury update. Hence, the setback may only be a minor one and he should take up one of the midfield positions. Alongside him, Matteo Guendouzi should be a definite starter after his game-changing performance in the north London derby before the international break.
Ahead of them, we are anticipating another start for Joe Willock in an advanced midfield role. The youngster was recently rewarded with a long-term contract at the club and it won’t be a surprise, if he gets the nod ahead of the experienced Mesut Ozil, who has not earned a single minute of playing time this season.
In the frontline, Dani Ceballos should slot into the left side of the attack from where he was impressive for Spain during the international break. Elsewhere, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should lead the line in the absence of Lacazette while Nicolas Pepe seems a certainty to feature on the right wing after overcoming a minor injury scare.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Nicolas Pepe, Joe Willock, Dani Ceballos, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang