Mikel Arteta could make minor tweaks to the Arsenal lineup for the crunch RC Lens clash, with Leandro Trossard set to return up front.
Arsenal will seek revenge on RC Lens when they host the Ligue 1 outfit in North London on Wednesday. Mikel Arteta will also have eyes on a win that could guarantee the Gunners top spot in their UEFA Champions League group and ensure qualification into the knockout phase.
During his pre-match press conference, Arteta answered reporters on various questions, including the fitness of several first-team stars. While some are returning to full fitness after recent troubles, Arsenal lost Fabio Vieira for ‘weeks’ with a groin injury.
Arteta confirmed the Portuguese midfielder underwent a surgical procedure to correct a groin issue, which will keep him out for a few weeks. He remains suspended domestically after receiving a red card against Burnley, as everyone had hoped to see him more in the last two Champions League games.
Arteta said, “Yeah, we’ve got a problem with him. He’s been having some discomfort, and we tried to have alternative treatment with him, and he wasn’t improving, so we’ve sent him to see a specialist, and that was to get an operation done in his groin, and we did that yesterday. We’re expecting him to be out for weeks now.”
Ben White was initially missing from group training but later returned to the pitch and did some work on his own. The defender training separately sparked rumours about his fitness, but Arteta insisted the Englishman was available to play.
Arteta continued, “Yes, and he trained the day before the Brentford game, and he was feeling good, and I think he’ll be available. That’s very good news for us.”
Arteta will select his best players for this clash but make a few tweaks from the lineup he picked against Brentford over the weekend. David Raya should return between the sticks to replace Aaron Ramsdale, while Ben White might come in for Takehiro Tomiyasu at right-back.
The rest of the defensive setup will remain unchanged, with William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Oleksandr Zinchenko completing the backline. Jorginho might come in the midfield unit and sit at the base. Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice should continue on either side of the Italian international.
After Kai Havertz’s match-winning display off the bench, the German international has put himself in contention. But Arteta might resist the temptation for this clash. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli should continue from the wide attacking areas, while Leandro Trossard might start centrally, which could allow some rest for Gabriel Jesus.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Raya; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli