Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has five decisions to make vs PSV
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has five big decisions to make over his starting XI for the visit of PSV Eindhoven on Thursday. The rearranged Europa League tie will give the Gunners the chance of securing qualification to the knockout stage and almost clinch top spot.
Arsenal have won all three of their matches so far in the competition. Last week’s narrow 1-0 win at Bodo/Glimt was their toughest test so far.
They are yet to face PSV and will make the return trip to Eindhoven a week today. Finishing top in the Europa League is vital as it prevents a round of 32 clash against teams dropping down from the Champions League.
However, Arsenal are away to Southampton at 2pm on Sunday and the Premier League leaders will surely have an eye on that game. Express Sport looks at how Arteta can juggle his squad and line up against PSV.
The five big decisions
Arteta must decide how many of his star men he wants to play from the start. There are six players almost nailed on to begin the game in north London.
But the makeup of his defence is in question. Cedric Soares has been back in recent match-day squads but is still yet to play a single minute this season after coming back from injury.
Ben White therefore could remain at right-back. Who partners Rob Holding at the back is also a question Arteta must answer.
Gabriel played the first two group games before William Saliba’s European debut for the club in Norway last week. Gabriel may just get the nod after his breather.
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A third big call Arteta has to make is in midfield. Granit Xhaka was also left out of the starting XI against Bodo/Glimt.
He has become a pivotal player in the Premier League and it is likely to be a straight shootout between him and Martin Odegaard. Both players will be needed at St Mary’s but Xhaka is more likely to start this one.
Arteta’s final two big decisions are out wide. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have started every league match so far this term.
Summer signing Marquinhos struggled on his last outing in the home match against Bodo, while Reiss Nelson flattered to deceive in the reverse fixture. Martinelli missed training on Wednesday due to illness so may not be used from the start.
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Saka therefore may be asked to start again after scoring four goals in his last three appearances. Nelson and Marquinhos will fight it out for the last spot.
The rest of the team pretty much picks itself. Matt Turner will continue in goal, while Kieran Tierney will likely come in at left-back.
Albert Sambi Lokonga should replace Thomas Partey in midfield, with Fabio Vieira also getting another opportunity. Eddie Nketiah will start up front and will look to continue his fine form when starting matches at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s expected XI vs PSV in full: Turner; White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Lokonga, Vieira, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Nelson.
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