Martinelli starts, Arteta to make seven changes | Predicted Arsenal line-up vs Sheffield United
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Arsenal make the trip to Bramall Lane for Sunday’s late Premier League kick-off against Sheffield United.
The Gunners were disappointing last weekend against Liverpool where they suffered a 3-0 league loss at the Emirates Stadium.
This was followed by another sub-standard display against Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday night.
They squandered multiple clear-cut scoring chances. Nicolas Pepe eventually opened the scoring in the 86th minute, but Slavia levelled in the final minute of stoppage time.
The north London club must now score in the reverse meeting against Slavia, or they will be eliminated from the European competition.
With the importance of that game, manager Mikel Arteta may ring in the changes for the Yorkshire trip to face the Blades.
The Gunners are 12 points behind the top four with just eight games left. Realistically, they may need to win the Europa League to secure Champions League football.
Bernd Leno made two crucial saves against Slavia but should have done better when he conceded just before the final whistle.
However, he is the club’s undisputed goalkeeper across all competitions and is very likely to start.
There could be a couple of changes in defence. Hector Bellerin could make way at right-back for Calum Chambers. Pablo Mari is likely to replace Gabriel Magalhaes in the left-sided central defensive role.
Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have been the regular midfield duo, but both could be rested for this game. We fancy Mohamed Elneny and Dani Ceballos to take their positions in the centre of the park.
Further forward, Nicolas Pepe could get the nod over Bukayo Saka on the right flank after scoring a goal in his cameo appearance in midweek. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to start on the opposite side.
The Gunners’ captain was dropped to the bench against Slavia and will be keen to make amends.
He is lacking confidence at the moment and missed a good scoring opportunity during his substitute appearance in midweek.
Both Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard are carrying minor knocks, but we fancy the former to make the starting XI in the number 10 role.
Gabriel Martinelli could earn a rare league start up front ahead of Alexandre Lacazette.
Lacazette had a poor outing against Slavia where he squandered two big chances, including one where he was clear through on goal from the centre circle, but astonishingly ended up hitting the woodwork.
Predicted Arsenal line-up (4-2-3-1): Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari, Cedric; Elneny, Ceballos; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Martinelli.