Bukayo Saka is fit and available, but Aaron Ramsdale could miss out when Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.
Arsenal travel to Selhurst Park on Monday, facing a daunting challenge against Crystal Palace. It is a must-win encounter for the Gunners, who slipped to fifth in the Premier League table following Tottenham Hotspur’s resounding 5-1 win over Newcastle United this past weekend.
Heading into this game, Arsenal may have to make do without first-choice goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale once again. Speaking to the press earlier this weekend, Mikel Arteta had said, “He hasn’t trained yet so we don’t know what he will be able to do on Monday. The physios are doing everything they can to make him available but we will see in the next few days when he starts to do more real training.”
Ramsdale has since returned to individual training, but he is unlikely to be fit enough for Monday’s outing, meaning Bernd Leno could expect another start in between the sticks.
Elsewhere in defence, Takehiro Tomiyasu is unlikely to be available either. “I think it will be close. He’s been training more and more. He has the boys back now, so he will be joining some sessions this week, and let’s see how it is,” Arteta had said earlier in the week when asked about the fitness of the Japanese international.
Takehiro’s absence means Arteta could be inclined to start with a similar back-four, with Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney occupying the full-back slots, partnering the two Arsenal central defenders in Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes.
Moving into midfield, Arteta is unlikely to shift away from his tried and tested double-pivot of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. The two have performed reasonably well since the turn of the year, and their stability could be key in helping Arsenal get over the line against the Palace setup this Monday.
While Ramsdale and Tomiyasu are unlikely to make it against Crystal Palace, there was one positive team news heading into this affair, with Bukayo Saka recovering from his COVID-19 infection. The winger is expected to start on the right flank, which could significantly strengthen Arsenal’s creative unit, as he looks to partner Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli in the final third.
The Arsenal frontline should be spearheaded by none other than Alexandre Lacazette, though it won’t be surprising to see Martinelli moving into centrally as well.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno; Cedric, White, Magalhaes, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette