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Premier League 2018-19: Arsenal's predicted line-up against Brighton on Boxing Day

Nurein Ahmed
ANALYST
Preview
26 Dec 2018, 14:04 IST

Unai Emery and his men
Unai Emery and his men

Unai Emery saw his 22-match unbeaten run with Arsenal end with defeat at St. Mary’s a fortnight ago, but his side bounced back in impressive fashion beating a stubborn Burnley 3-1 at the Emirates last weekend.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the scoring charts, and his brace overtook him past Mohamed Salah as the leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 12 goals.

At this stage of the season, the former Sevilla coach is getting accustomed to preparing his team for a difficult trip on Boxing Day at the Amex Stadium where Arsenal were surprisingly beaten last season. There could be a repeat result this time especially due to a number of absentees in the Arsenal starting XI.

With a broken foot, Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan is all set to be out of action until February at the very least. Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck, and Rob Holding are long-term absences and will definitely miss out, while the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal are doubts for the game.

Arsenal’s other big worry is midfielder Lucas Torreira’s inclusion. The Uruguayan, who has been a sensation since arriving at Arsenal is one caution away from suspension and if yellow carded against Brighton, could miss the encounter against Liverpool at Anfield in three days time. The Arsenal manager though was quick to point out that will not in any way affect his place in the team or his performance in the match.

Mesut Ozil’s return to the starting line-up during the weekend was instrumental in Arsenal unlocking Burnley’s defence. In all likeliness, Unai Emery could turn to the German once again to pull the strings in the final third.

Ozil's eye for a killer pass is exactly what Arsenal lacked in their hard-fought win over Huddersfield and their loss at Southampton. That could mean, Alexander Lacazette will have to settle for a place on the bench.

Arsenal’s predicted line-up: Leno; Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Torreira, Xhaka; Ozil, Ramsey, Iwobi; Aubameyang.

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