Arsenal predicted XI vs West Ham as Takehiro Tomiyasu starts but Gabriel Martinelli misses out

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After two unexpected but warmly welcomed victories against Chelsea and Manchester United, Arsenal face an altogether different test when they travel to the London Stadium to play West Ham this Sunday. David Moyes’ side find themselves sandwiched in between arguably the two most important games in their history as they prepare to overturn a 2-1 deficit from their Europa League semi-final first leg with Eintracht.

With that in mind the Hammers are expected to field a much-changed side that could see Michail Antonio, Declan Rice and Kurt Zouma all on the bench. Mikel Arteta is in no mood to take anything for granted though. “They have been doing that all season and they have been really good in both competitions,” the Spaniard told reporters ahead of the match. “They have a big squad as well, they have many different options to change their players and still maintain their level. So I don’t see that.”

With the favourites tag growing stronger by the day, this game feels eerily similar to the three banana skins that Arsenal managed to slip on quite spectacularly in the immediate aftermath of the last international break. The pressure of being in the driving seat for top four yet again means that the Gunners will now have to try to succeed where they previously failed, and with that in mind Arteta will need to get his team selection spot on.

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READ MORE:Every word Mikel Arteta said on Partey, Tomiyasu, Bellerin’s future and West Ham

Aaron Ramsdale hasn’t necessarily been at his most confidence-inspiring best recently since returning from the hip injury that saw him miss the win at Aston Villa. Against United there were several occasions where his poor distribution put Arsenal in trouble, but his conviction to keep trying high-risk high-reward football at the back will have pleased Arteta no end. The England goalkeeper was signed, in part, for his resilience in adversity and Arteta will be hoping for a positive response this weekend.

The same goes for much of the rest of the back four who have appeared nervous under the weight of end-of-season pressure. With the way West Ham will set up there can be little suggestion that the Gunners will adopt a back three again so it’ll likely be a pairing of Ben White and Gabriel.

To the left of them Arteta will once again have to spin the wheel of fortune that comes with playing Nuno Tavares and hope for million-dollar performance instead of something altogether more sinister. There is of course the option of switch Cedric out to the left now Takehiro Tomiyasu is back fit, but given how that restricts the Portuguese international going forward that seems unlikely. Instead Tomiyasu will most probably be brought back in to provide that balance that was so crucial to Tavares’ good form during his run in the side back in October.

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While others around them have appeared to buckle slightly under pressure, the pair of Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka have been steadfast in their composed approach to securing Champions League qualification. Their experience will be needed once again as Arsenal travel to the London Stadium with pressure of playing after Spurs and knowing that they will have to react to their local rivals result.

Martin Odegaard has also shown leadership along with Bukayo Saka to step up and face the clutch moments this season face on instead of hiding away as many others as young as them might do. Upfront it’ll be Eddie Nketiah again who will have to be at his goal-poaching best to take advantage of any slip-ups from what is likely to be a tightly locked West Ham back door.

That leaves one more decision to be made on the left-wing. It is yet again between Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli and essentially comes down to whether Arteta wants the hammer or the chisel to break down the Hammers defensive wall. Perhaps Smith Rowe’s more delicate approach and ability to play in small spaces are what the Spaniard will go for, but it’s a very tricky decision to make.

Arsenal predicted XI vs West Ham – Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Elneny, Odegaard, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Smith Rowe.

Source by Football London

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