Arsenal have the opportunity to start 2019 on a positive note when they entertain struggling Fulham at the Emirates Stadium later today. The Gunners are struggling with key injury concerns in the defensive department this term but they should still fancy getting the better of the Cottagers, who possess the worst defence in the division.
Bernd Leno could not do much to restrict any of Liverpool’s five goals last weekend. He should start in goal against the Cottagers searching for his third league clean sheet of the campaign.
In the defence, Emery may stick to the traditional four-man backline and we are anticipating both Shkodran Mustafi and Stephan Lichtsteiner to drop to the bench.
In this case, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was unquestionably the best performer at Anfield, should take up the right-back role with Sead Kolasinac in the opposite end while skipper Laurent Koscielny could slot into the heart of the defence alongside Sokratis after putting in a decent performance in the second half of the Anfield defeat.
Onto the midfield, Emery is unlikely to consider resting Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira for the London derby, given he could do so with the FA Cup tie later in the week. Alongside the duo, however, we are anticipating a role for Mateo Guendouzi, who started on the bench last weekend after five successive league starts prior to that.
Further forward, Aaron Ramsey should take up the role behind the main strikers after impressing with his workrate at Liverpool despite the embarrassing defeat and ahead of him, Alexandre Lacazette could return to the fray ahead of Alex Iwobi to partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang upfront. The Frenchman had assisted Aubameyang in the games versus Brighton and Burnley but was surprisingly given the chop on Saturday.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Lacazette, Aubameyang
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