Soccer

How Arsenal could line-up vs Leeds as Partey injury adds to midfield crisis

Thomas Partey has been ruled out of Arsenal's trip to Leeds United as Mikel Arteta faces a major selection dilemma.

The Gunners were thumped 3-0 by Aston Villa in the game prior to the international break and will be looking to bounce back at Elland Road.

But with much of Arteta’s squad returning international duty, Arteta now has to deal with a number of issues.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang endured a dramatic trip with Gabon, as he and his compatriots were held for several hours by airport officials in Gabon.

Meanwhile, Arsenal will have to contend with a pair of positive Covid-19 tests to Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac.

On the club’s official site, it was confirmed that both players are asymptomatic after testing positive, but due to self-isolation guidelines, they will miss this weekend’s game.

Elneny has become one of Arteta’s most trusted players this season and has started several games alongside summer signing Partey.

But along with Elneny, Arteta will have to cope without the former Atletico Madrid man, who will also be unavailable.

“Thomas was replaced at half time during the match against Aston Villa and has sustained a strain to his left thigh,” Arsenal.com confirmed.

“Continues to be assessed, will not be available for this weekend’s match and will continue his rehabilitation.”

That means Arteta could look to Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos to anchor the Gunners midfield against Marcelo Bielsa’s all-action outfit.

Xhaka was left on the bench for their last two games, but have little choice but to throw him in from the start. Ceballos meanwhile, is set to play after reports claimed he and David Luiz were involved in a training ground bust-up.

The Spaniard subsequently denied the claims and both players could be handed a start.

  • Mo Salah and Mohamed Elneny jetting back on special plane before facing Covid-19 test

Bukayo Saka played 270 minutes for England during the break and Arteta could give him a rest, with Tierney moving over to left wing-back and Luiz slotting into the back-three.

Up top, question marks remain over Alexandre Lacazette’s place and whether Aubameyang should take up the central role.

However, with lots of changes elsewhere, the Arsenal boss may look for some continuity with Lacazette. One change that could be made though, is Nicolas Pepe coming in for the struggling Willian, to provide some extra pace on the counter.

Arsenal predicted XI: Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Luiz; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Source: Read Full Article