Starlet Bukayo Saka is likely to be rested when Arsenal lock horns with Leeds United at Elland Road on Saturday evening.
Arsenal are hoping to bounce back to winning ways when they trip to Elland Road to face Leeds United on Sunday. It is going to be a must-win encounter for the visitors who are coming on the back of a disastrous 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
However, head coach Mikel Arteta, during his pre-match press conference, has appeared quite outspoken about the hectic schedule especially following the international break and its toll on players’ fitness.
‘We’ve been doing it, training individually and doing it without having the possibility as the manager to speak to them all in a room, and we’ve even done it without the fans. But guys, we need the players. We have to protect them as much as possible.’, Mikel Arteta told the press.
Judging by the Spaniard’s comments, there could be some interesting changes in the Arsenal lineup this weekend. Academy graduate Bukayo Saka, in particular, was quite involved with the England side and might be given a breather, thus paving the way for Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left wing-back while Hector Bellerin is pretty much a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank.
Kieran Tierney was another player who was quite involved during the international. But with Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers out injured and Sead Kolasinac unavailable due to Covid-19, the Scotland may continue at centre-back, alongside Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding, who might get the nod ahead of David Luiz.
Speaking of Covid-19, Mohamed Elneny is another victim of the virus and has been ruled out against Leeds United, along with his midfield partner Thomas Partey, the club confirmed. It serves as a major blow for Mikel Arteta, who might now have to recall Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos back into the starting eleven.
Moving forward, no substantial changes are expected to be made, with Aubameyang once again set to operate in the left-wing slot. It will be interesting to see whether or not the ex-Dortmund forward’s sublime pace could be useful against Leeds’ high defensive line.
Aubameyang should be partnered by Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette in the attack, although Mikel Arteta also has the option of Willian and potentially Reiss Nelson, although the Englishman remains a minor doubt heading into this encounter.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.