Mikel Arteta could decide to follow Julian Nagelsmann in playing Kai Havertz at left-back in a bold new Arsenal system this weekend.
Arsenal edged out the Bees in a close-fought Carabao Cup tie in September, with Arteta hoping for a similar outcome on the club’s return to west London.
Germany boss Nagelsmann stunned fans when he fielded the ex-Chelsea star, who predominantly plays as a creative midfielder or striker, at left-back for Saturday’s friendly against Turkey.
But Havertz silenced his doubters just five minutes into the match after breaking the deadlock in an eventual 3-2 defeat.
Following the match, Nagelsmann insisted it won’t be a one-off him playing there, stating the 24-year-old wanted to try out the new position.
He said: “I don’t see this as a risk for him, but as a very, very big opportunity to play a key role at the Euros [next summer].
“Kai said he wanted to do it, wanted to try it — for a first time in an unfamiliar position, he did extremely well.”
And with Havertz struggling since swapping Stamford Bridge for the Emirates having chipped in with just one goal and as many assists, Arteta could look to deploy him there in his effort to get the best out of him.
Here talkSPORT.com takes a look at how Arsenal’s starting XI could look if Arteta does indeed decide to tinker his line-up with Havertz at left-back.
That is because Raya, on loan from Brentford, is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Ben White could also return to the line-up at right-back to replace Takehiro Tomiyasu having missed the 3-1 win over Burnley with a slight knock.
And having had two weeks to recover during the international break, he could be set to play alongside the preferred centre-back pairing of William Saliba and Gabriel.
Havertz has played alongside Rice in the same position in recent weeks with skipper Martin Odegaard out on the sidelines for concussion.
But the Norwegian maestro could be recalled with Fabio Vieira suspended following his red card against the Clarets.
He said ahead of his side’s 3-3 draw against Scotland: “I’ve just come from a 45-minute talk with Martin. He is getting better and better and gradually stepping up.
“It has been more or less three weeks without any special training, so it is important to take things step by step.
“Both he and Arsenal probably hope that he is available for the Brentford match.”
Gabriel Jesus, who has been out for a month with a hamstring issue, could be in contention ahead of schedule as he looks set to to start for Brazil against Argentina.
He has also scored in each of his last two Arsenal matches when leading the line ahead of Eddie Nketiah.
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