Mikel Arteta may have kept everyone guessing about player fitness ahead of Arsenal’s triumph over Bournemouth at the weekend, but his team selection was predictable.
That’s a first for the Gunners manager this season, as he chose to start the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur six days previously, with the key difference being his team being more ruthless at both ends to collect all three points.
Arsenal’s next UEFA Champions League match is against RC Lens in Ligue 1. However, with the heavyweight showdown against Manchester City looming, one would think Arteta to make some changes to ensure the squad remains fresh.
On Tuesday night, he can rely on Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jakub Kiwior, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Fabio Vieira, and possibly Thomas Partey. Football.london journalists Kaya Kaynak and Tashan Deniran-Alleyne are available to assist with any problems. They have named their respective starting lineups for Arsenal’s match against RC Lens.
Kaya Kaynak – Chief Arsenal Writer
With Manchester City on the horizon, if I were Mikel Arteta, I’d want to rotate as much as possible. That begins in goal, where I’d prefer Aaron Ramsdale over David Raya, first and foremost to keep the Spaniard fresh for Sunday, but also to keep the England international involved.
In defense, I’d start Takehiro Tomiyasu in place of Oleksandr Zinchenko. The Ukrainian will be critical to winning the midfield fight versus City, and I believe it is in everyone’s best interests to keep him as fresh as possible. I’d start the traditional back four, but Jakub Kiwior is a sub I’d aim to employ throughout the 90 if at all possible.
In midfield, I believe it is too soon to bring back Thomas Partey, and with Declan Rice still nursing a back injury, this appears to be a game in which you may start Jorginho. I’d also bring back Fabio Vieira and start Emile Smith Rowe ahead of Martin Odegaard, again to keep the Norwegian fresh for City.
To begin with, I would not risk Bukayo Saka. Leandro Trossard is healthy, so give him some playing time to get him involved and up to speed for City. Meanwhile, I’d keep Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus as the front three, which played wonderfully against Bournemouth.
Kaynak’s Arsenal XI vs Lens: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Vieira; Trossard, Nketiah, Jesus.
Deniran-Alleyne’s Arsenal XI vs Lens: Raya; White, Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Jorginho, Odegaard, Havertz; Fabio Vieira, Jesus, Trossard