Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s team selection for this evening’s Premier League tussle with Everton at the Emirates Stadium has sparked a reaction from some Gunners supporters on social media.
The Gunners, who have seen their preparations for tonight’s clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s side dominated by off-field events, including the fallout from their European Super League withdrawal and Josh Kroenke’s appearance at yesterday’s Fans’ Forum, will be looking to get back to winning ways after salvaging a late draw against Fulham on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal needed a 97th-minute leveller from substitute Eddie Nketiah to avoid a bitterly disappointing home defeat, meaning they will be determined to get back on track this evening and end what has been a difficult week for the club on a high.
The draw with the Cottagers left Arsenal with 46 points to their name, meaning a win this evening would take them above Everton in the table on goal difference.
In truth, the Gunners could have not possibly picked a better time to face Everton as they are currently on a run of six games without a victory. Nevertheless, Arsenal will need to be up and at it if they are to get back on track themselves.
The Gunners remain without David Luiz (knee), Kieran Tierney (knee) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (illness) and have been forced to add Alexandre Lacazette (hamstring) to the list ahead of tonight’s game.
Nevertheless, although he is without some of his key players, Arteta still has plenty of options available to him, as proven with this evening’s starting line-up.
Bernd Leno, Thomas Partey and Nicolas Pepe have all been named in this evening’s line-up, as Arteta looks to secure his second win as a manager against the club he played for over a six-year period.
As well as Partey and Pepe making the starting XI, Dani Ceballos and Nketiah have also been handed starting berths.
Arsenal starting line-up: Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka; Ceballos, Partey; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Nketiah. Substitutes: Ryan, Bellerin, Cedric, Gabriel, Elneny, Odegaard, Willian, Nelson, Martinelli.
Following Sunday’s stalemate with Fulham, Arteta has made a total of six changes to his side, with Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Leno, Partey, Pepe and Nketiah coming in and Mat Ryan, Hector Bellerin, Gabriel Magalhaes, Mohamed Elneny, Gabriel Martinelli and Lacazette making way.
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Elsewhere, Martin Odegaard has made a return to the matchday squad by securing a place on the bench.
Most of the reaction to Arteta’s selection choice has centred around the Spaniard’s decision to hand the lone forward role to Nketiah instead of Gabriel Martinelli.
With Lacazette sidelined, many Gunners fans were hopeful that Arteta would hand Martinelli the chance to spearhead the forward line on his own, but he has instead offered Nketiah the chance after he scored against Fulham last time out.
Below, football.london has taken a closer look at what some Arsenal fans have had to say on social media in response to Arteta’s decision.
As you can see from the selection of tweets above, several Gunners fans have been left surprised by Martinelli’s omission from the starting line-up, despite Lacazette and Aubameyang’s absences.
On his last Premier League start, Martinelli scored in the 3-0 win over Sheffield United, highlighting that he has delivered the goods when recently called upon.
You can follow all of tonight’s action from the Emirates Stadium by keeping tabs on our live blog.