Arsenal travel to face Burnley in another big game in the Premier League. In fairness, every league game for the rest of the season is a big game. If we are to achieve anything through league position this season, we will need to be pretty much perfect for the remainder of the season. That means nothing short of 3 points in this one is going to suffice. Here is how we should line up. Do you agree with my selections?
RYAN: With a bit of luck, our keeper won’t be kept too busy in this one. Ryan was really impressive in his debut against Villa a few weeks ago but hasn’t featured since. I doubt Leno needs a rest, but I feel like we can give him a rest in this one anyway. Ahead of more important games against Spurs and Olyimpiakos
CEDRIC: He was impressive against Leicester last week in linking up with Pepe down the right and I want to see that continue against Burnley.
HOLDING: Luiz and Mari were preferred against Leicester, so I’m guessing we will see Holding given some more game time against Burnley. He hasn’t played since City and I’m sure Arteta will want him to have some minutes under his belt before the Europa League round of 16
GABRIEL: Gabriel hasn’t been as nailed on in recent weeks as he was at the start of the season when he was our best player, but the more he plays, the closer he will get to those levels again. Against a side sitting deep, we need a guy who loves to drive the ball into midfield to make the opposition react and move about. He is great at that
TIERNEY: It is tempting to rest him, but he has only just returned from injury. He was impressive against Leicester and needs a run of games to get him straight back to his best
CEBALLOS: I don’t want to see two defensive minded players sat in front of the defence against a team like Burnley. I want to see Ceballos given the job of pulling the strings and controlling the game. We need someone willing to take the ball and turn. As well as someone who can be direct in his passing. Unfortunately, Elneny is not that kind of player
PARTEY: He came on against Leicester to see the game out, but I’d be tempted to play him in this one. Burnley will sit with their two flat lines of 4, meaning we need to win the battle in the midfield. Partey will be crucial to that goal
PEPE: He was sublime against Leicester. We made the mistake once earlier in the season where we benched him despite him being on great form, we cannot do so again. If he keeps this form and confidence up, then by the end of the season we might finally feel like we’ve got a player who’s somewhat close to the £72 million we paid for him
ODEGAARD: Burnley will sit deep and there will be periods where we will be knocking it around in the final third. For those moments, we need someone with a killer pass and an ability to break down those kinds of defences. That guy is Odegaard. Besides, despite Smith Rowe’s injury against Leicester not seeming too serious, I don’t know that he would be ready for this game
MARTINELLI: I doubt we will see him given the nod, Arteta seems to really want to protect him for the rest of the season or at least until his long term injury is firmly in the rear view mirror. But I’d love to see him given the chance. More realistically, I think we can expect to see Auba or Willian come onto this left side. Or Arteta might play Saka on the right and move Pepe on the left
LACAZETTE: It bewilders me why he was ever taken out of the team. He is so important to bringing our attacks together in a similar way to Firmino for Liverpool. What’s more, he has a far superior goal contribution to Firmino too. He has been having a very solid season considering how much we struggled to create chances earlier in the season.
But who do you think should start?
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