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Back-3 again: How Arsenal could line up vs Spurs if the match goes ahead

Back-3 again: How Arsenal could line up vs Spurs if the match goes ahead
LONDON, ENGLAND: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on November 27, 2021. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Arsenal are currently still set to take on Tottenham Hotspur away from home in the North London derby on Sunday, despite only having one senior central midfielder available and 13 eligible outfielders in total.

If the game goes ahead, the Gunners will have to start a youth player with zero Premier League minutes in one of the biggest games of the season. That or move players out of position to fulfil the fixture.

With all the injuries at right-back, it’s difficult to shift someone like Calum Chambers forward even if Mikel Arteta wanted to.

The team isn’t going to look anything like full strength, but here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup for the Tottenham Hotspur clash if it happens.

Goalkeeper

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Aaron Ramsdale of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Aaron Ramsdale of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2022. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

There are no problems here, fortunately, as Aaron Ramsdale came through the Liverpool match unscathed. Arteta opted for Ramsdale over Bernd Leno in the League Cup semi-final, and he’ll almost certainly do the same here.

Defence

LONDON, ENGLAND: Ben White of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Ben White of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

As mentioned, Arsenal have big problems at right-back (or right-wing-back), with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Cedric Soares both injured.

Calum Chambers will most likely have to play his first Premier League minutes since August in the position.

Given the absentees in midfield, it seems possible Arsenal set up in a similar way to how they played most of the Liverpool game, with a back three and only a couple of midfielders.

If that’s the case, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, and Ben White are the obvious choices, with Kieran Tierney on the left opposite Chambers.

Midfield

Arsenal's English midfielder Charlie Patino, who scored a goal on his debut, applauds supporters on the pitch after the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 21, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Arsenal’s English midfielder Charlie Patino, who scored a goal on his debut, applauds supporters on the pitch after the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 21, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Albert Sambi Lokonga will start, but likely without Thomas Partey (AFCON), Granit Xhaka (suspension), Martin Odegaard (Covid-19), Emile Smith Rowe (injury), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (loan), or Mohamed Elneny (AFCON) to partner him.

If this game does go ahead, Charlie Patino may be facing by far the biggest game of his young career. There just aren’t many alternatives right now.

Forwards

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) speaks witj Arsenal's English midfielder Bukayo Saka (L) during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 13, 2022. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) speaks with Arsenal’s English midfielder Bukayo Saka (L) during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on January 13, 2022. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal will hope Bukayo Saka is available to make another start, although if he isn’t, that may well see the game postponed anyway.

So we’ll assume he is, joining Gabriel Martinelli and Alexandre Lacazette in the front three. Eddie Nketiah is available if either Martinelli or Lacazette are too exhausted from their efforts on Thursday.

Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Spurs

Arsenal predicted lineup vs Spurs created using Chosen11.com
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Spurs created using Chosen11.com
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