Alexandre Lacazette starts, Nicolas Pepe decision – Arsenal predicted XI to take on West Ham

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta maintains that it’s business as usual right now, despite another unwelcome distraction off the pitch.

The Gunners had confirmed on Tuesday that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following his latest disciplinary breach.

Aubameyang, who has struggled for form this season, won’t be part of the squad for the game against West Ham on Wednesday night.

Instead, Arsenal’s leadership group will rotate the armband between the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding.

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Lacazette is expected to lead the line for the north Londoners against the Hammers, with Arteta praising his former manager David Moyes and describing them as one of the Premier League’s best teams.

“For me they are one of the best teams in the league,” he said.

“The understanding that they have, the clarity in what they want to do and how much they are able to hurt teams with the way they play has been impressive and they have been really really consistent.

“It’s a big game because of the position they are in, and the position we want to be in. Tomorrow we have the opportunity at home, in front of our people to do that. That would be a big, big boost.

“You can see when the crowd gets behind the team, the moments that [the team] are creating,”

Meanwhile, Arteta is likely to stick with the same back five that has guided Arsenal to the top six positions.

Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Ben White and Kieran Tierney are the first choice line of defence, with Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka usually partnering each other in central midfield.

Martin Odegaard has scored in his past three consecutive league games and would be deserving of another start against the Hammers, with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka likely to support Alexandre Lacazette upfront.

Predicted West Ham XI – Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Gabriel, White, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Lacazette.

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