Premier League 2018/19: Predicted Arsenal lineup ahead of the clash against West Ham
Arsenal had bounced back from their heavy defeat to Liverpool and gone on to win two consecutive in all competitions. The win against Fulham was extremely vital as it helped the Gunners remain in the competition for a top-four finish in the Premier League. If the result had gone against them, Manchester United, who now sit in sixth place, would be even closer.
Former Arsenal players including Lukas Fabianski and Jack Wilshere are all in-line to face their old club and former team-mates. In the first leg held at the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners beat their London opponents by a scoreline of 3-1.
However, that was before some Arsenal players suffered their injuries and the Hammers were still adapting to Manuel Pellegrini's style of football. At the London Stadium, the North London club can expect a much tougher test than before.
Fortunately, Unai Emery has received a huge boost ahead of the clash as he welcomes back a couple of senior defenders and Mesut Ozil. Here is how the Gunners could line-up in their away match against the Hammers.
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno
Despite having not kept any clean sheets for a long period of time, it seems like Emery has decided that Leno would be the first choice keeper for the team. Petr Cech has been on the bench for quite some time since recovering from his injury and is used only in competitions outside of the Premier League.
Centre-back: Shkodran Mustafi
The German defender has not been able to play for the full match for the last two Premier League games as he stepped up his recovery. Emery has relied heavily on Mustafi and Sokratis this season, hence there is little doubt that both of them would start the match.
Although Arsenal's defence remains a mess, the Greek defender has indeed added some strength to the back. He has been ruthless in his tackles and on most occasions, he knows exactly what to do to help his teammates who have been caught out of position.
Right-back: Hector Bellerin
The Gunners sorely missed Bellerin in the games which he has been absent from. Ainsley Maitland-Niles lacked experience and creativity and Stephan Lichtsteiner was at times too caught up with atoning for his own mistakes at the back. The full-back surely has to return to the starting line-up now that he is fit.
Left-back: Sead Kolasinac
Kolasinac has done decently well as a wing-back. Emery seemed to have revitalised him and in a couple of games, the former Bundesliga player seemed as if he was in a league of his own, handling both defence and attack. Right now, there is no other player better than him to play in the position of a wing-back.
Central Defensive Midfielder: Granit Xhaka
Playing as a defender has not quite worked out for Xhaka as his influence on the game diminishes. If Arsenal were to dominate possession, Xhaka has the capability of dictating the tempo of the match. In the last few fixtures, the Gunners have been moving too slowly and allowing their opponents to get stronger over time. As such, the Swiss midfielder would have to work on closing the gaps and linking up the play better.
Central Defensive Midfielder: Lucas Torreira
Torreira has not been fantastic in his last few games. His mistakes gave Arsenal's opponents the chance to snatch the ball quickly and score. With close to a week's break between their FA Cup match and the game against West Ham, Torreira has had the opportunity to get a break. He should now be back to his best.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Mesut Ozil
Ozil has failed to live up to the expectations in the first half of the season and now is the time for him to prove himself to his critics and his manager. As much as he has not contributed much thus far, the German does add to the goal-scoring potential of the game. Without him, the Gunners could suffer in terms in creating scoring chances.
Right winger: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
With 14 goals in the Premier League, Aubameyang has been the main source of goals for the Gunners. Without him, Arsenal might not be doing that well. While the former Dortmund striker did not score against West Ham in the first leg, he should find chances for himself in the upcoming game.
Left-winger: Alex Iwobi
His performance has improved slightly in recent performances and Iwobi found himself on the scoresheet after his side defeated Blackpool in the FA Cup. While Emery has now received an injury boost, the Nigerian has become a regular starter in the absence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ozil. He is just starting to get some momentum in his games and should be allowed to continue playing.
Centre Forward: Alexandre Lacazette
Even if Lacazette does not score goals, he remains a very important player on the field. Both Aubameyang and him support each other on a regular basis while playing and it is apparent that Arsenal's attack is a lot more effective with both of them on the pitch at the same time. Emery should start the Frenchman in order to boost Arsenal's goalscoring chances.