Date: 23rd April 2021 at 6:20am
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Former European Super League side Arsenal take on non-big-six club Everton on Friday, with a chance to leapfrog the Merseyside outfit into, er, 8th position. 

The Toffees are currently three points ahead of the Gunners in the Premier League and also have a game in hand meaning, should Arsenal lose, they could find themselves up to nine points behind with only five games to play.

Whether this means Everton will be forming a new breakaway league that ensures they get some proper ‘competition’, at last, we don’t know, but it will make for an exciting end to the season.

Arsenal still have Europa League glory to chase, providing they aren’t banned from the competition, after they defeated Slavia Prague 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter-final, with Spanish side Villareal standing in their way of the Gdansk final.

For this domestic fixture, though, Mikel Arteta’s side will be without David Luiz and Kieran Tierney again, as well as a fresh injury concern regarding Alexandre Lacazette.

Everton have a host of characters definitely out, including Abdoulaye Doucoure, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Fabian Delph, Yerry Mina and Bernard, while Andre Gomes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are both doubts.

With this in mind, we take a look at how Arsenal could line up at the Emirates Stadium on Friday, in their first fixture since the fall-apart of the ESL.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper

German stopper Bernd Leno was rested for the 1-1 draw with Fulham but is expected to return to the side in favour of Aussie Mathew Ryan, who played just his second game for Arsenal in that fixture.

Aussie ‘keeper Mat Ryan is on loan from Brighton. 

Defenders

Expect an unchanged defence from the draw with Fulham and the comfortable 3-0 victory over Sheffield United in recent weeks, with a centre-back partnership of Rob Holding and Gabriel. Long-standing right-back Hector Bellerin will operate on one flank while midfielder Granit Xhaka will likely deputise on the other once more.

Granit Xhaka has found another way into Arsenal’s starting XI, now operating at left-back in Kieran Tierney’s absence.

Midfielders 

Arsenal will be rejuvenated by the return of Thomas Partey in midfield, who was dropped to the bench for the draw with Fulham – but started both legs of the Slavia Prague Europa League tie. Partnered alongside the African will likely be, Dani Ceballos who was denied his first Premier League goal against Fulham in cruel fashion when VAR ruled out his header for an offside in the build-up. This leaves the highly intuitive and impressive Emile Smith Rowe in the number 10 role.

Dani Ceballos looked to have headed home his first Premier League goal before VAR’s magic lines ruled it out.

Forwards 

Arsenal have a selection of forward combinations they could choose, despite Alexandre Lacazette likely missing the next few weeks with a hamstring injury picked up against Fulham. As a result, we expect an attacking trio of Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli operating as the central striker. Martinelli has looked extremely lively in his recent performances, while the two wingers will provide pace and creativity. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang could also make his return in a straight swap for his French counterpart, after recently spending time in hospital with illness.

Gabriel Martinelli could be given the chance at striker if Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang doesn’t pass fitness and Eddie Nketiah isn’t favoured

KICK-OFF: 8PM, Friday April 23, Emirates Stadium

 
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