Mikel Arteta will hope to make Arsenal’s long-awaited return to the Champions League a memorable one when they kick their campaign off against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
Not since 2016/17 have Arsenal dined at Europe’s biggest table but big things are expected of the Gunners after their explosion on to the scene last season.
With a handful of fitness concerns to address, here’s how Arteta could set up for this famous return.
GK: David Raya – One of the biggest decisions comes in goal. Arteta attracted the spotlight as he picked Raya over Aaron Ramsdale against Everton, and with the Spaniard keeping a clean sheet, it’s hard to see another change coming.
RB: Ben White – Jurrien Timber was left out of the Champions League squad after suffering a nasty knee injury so expect White to keep hold of this spot until January at the earliest.
CB: William Saliba – The Frenchman has featured in both the Europa League and Conference League and is now set to add an appearance in the Champions League to his increasingly impressive CV.
CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – A knock-on effect of Timber’s absence, Gabriel will now see regular minutes here as White has to cover out wide again.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – Now back from his injury, Zinchenko’s style of play is crucial to how Arteta wants to do things.
DM: Declan Rice – Thomas Partey is out injured but his chances of starting ahead of Rice were incredibly slim anyway.
CM: Martin Odegaard – Captain Odegaard has embraced his role as Arsenal‘s leader and looks capable of inspiring those around him.
CM: Fabio Vieira – With the Kai Havertz experiment getting off to a stuttering start, Vieira deserves a chance to make this spot his own.
RW: Bukayo Saka – Saka had not even appeared for Arsenal’s Under-18 side when the Gunners last played Champions League football.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – Is he fit enough to start? The Brazilian hasn’t played many minutes since his comeback but Arteta may take a gamble here.
LW: Leandro Trossard – After Gabriel Martinelli limped off injured, Trossard came on to score the winner against Everton. Expect the Belgian to get the nod from the off.
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