Arsenal host Liverpool in their opening fixture of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign, with a host of first-team absentees for the Gunners making it worrisome. Here we look at who is likely to feature for Arsenal, and for Liverpool as well.
Arsenal Team News
New signings Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding are likely to feature for the first team, and the former is most definitely expected to start this game.
Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud, who had been given an extended holiday after they finished runners-up in the Euro 2016, featuring in every game for their national side, along with Mesut Ozil who received a long break as well, are doubtful for the opener. All three Arsenal stars came in a lot later for training to the London Colney and are not expected to be match fit.
On the injury front, Long-term absentees Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson will continue their rehabilitation on the sidelines, while newly appointed captain Per Mertesacker has joined them as well, and is expected to return only in January 2017. Gabriel, the most recent of the Arsenal injured, is out until October. Jack Wilshere is expected to return on the 20th of October according to The Guardian.
With this backdrop, Calum Chambers will be called up by Arsene Wenger to play at the heart of defense. It can also be expected that instead of fielding newly recruited central defender Rob Holding Wenger will play Nacho Monreal as a makeshift center back, provided Wenger has always considered ‘experience’ being the most important factors in this position over natural ability/ talent. This would also imply that Kieran Gibbs starts at Left back for Arsenal.
First team regulars Petr Cech and Hector Bellerin are likely to retain their places.
In midfield, new signing Xhaka should start this one, either alongside Santi Cazorla or Mohammad Elneny.
There has been a lot of talk as to who will start up front. Chuba Akpom has been promising in the pre-season. However, Wenger could place his faith in Alexis Sanchez starting up front in the absence of Giroud and Welbeck.
Arsenal will most likely stick to their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for this game.
The North London club have faced the Merseyside club twice last season and both ended in draws. If you think they will repeat the same scenario this season then premier league game previews & tips are offering great odds for a repeat in this game.
Arsenal’s Predicted Lineup:
Bellerin, Chambers, Monreal, Gibbs
Chamberlain Ramsey Iwobi
Subs from: Martinez, Ospina, Debuchy, Koscielny, Reine-Adelaide, Coquelin, Akpom, Giroud, Elneny, Walcott, Campbell, Gnabry, Holding, Sanogo.
Doubtful: Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud
Injured: Mertesacker, Welbeck ( both knee, January) Jenkinson ( knee, November) Gabriel (ankle, October) Jack Wilshere (knee, 20th August)
Liverpool Team news
It must be distressing yet not surprising, especially for Liverpool fans that Daniel Sturridge is set to miss Liverpool’s first two opening fixtures courtesy a hip injury. Central defender Dejan Lovren and newly recruited midfielder Marko Grujic have also sustained knocks but could find a place in the team for this one.
Additionally, Liverpool are also without their vice-captain James Milner for this game.
Jurgen Klopp will field new signings Sadio Mane and Ragnar Klavan, as was the case in the pre- season friendly against Barcelona.
Liverpool are likely to also stick to a 4-2-3-1 formation for this game.
Liverpool’s Predicted Lineup
Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, A.Moreno
Emre Can Henderson
Coutinho Mane Firmino
Subs from: Manninger, Wijnaldum, Ings, Milner, Benteke, Gomez, Lallana, Illori, Brannagan, Balotelli, Markovic, Wisdom.
Doubtful: Milner, Sturridge, Lovren
Injured: Sakho and Matip ( calf and ankle, date of return still unknown) Lucas Leiva ( hamstring, 20 August) Karius (fractured hand, October)