Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s team selection for this afternoon’s eagerly anticipated Premier League tussle with Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium has sparked no shortage of reaction from the Gunners supporters.
The Gunners, who were narrowly beaten by City in the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, losing 1-0, will be looking to get back to winning ways after playing out a 1-1 draw with Portuguese outfit Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Despite being held by Benfica in midweek, Arsenal will be looking to post their second successive league triumph this afternoon, following last Sunday’s 4-2 win over Leeds United.
But even though the Gunners produced a spirited performance against Leeds last Sunday, this afternoon’s tussle with City is going to be a much harder test for Arteta’s players, with City arriving in north London looking to maintain their grip on top spot.
With a massive test looming, Arteta has named his strongest team possible, with Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all included in the starting line-up, as the Spaniard looks to get one over on Pep Guardiola in the Premier League for the very first time in his managerial career.
As well as Saka and Aubameyang being included, Mohamed Elneny and on-loan Real Madrid ace Martin Odegaard have also been handed starting berths.
Arsenal starting line-up: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Pepe; Aubameyang. Substitutes: Ryan, Cedric, Luiz, Gabriel, Willian, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette.
In total, following Thursday evening’s stalemate with Benfica, Arteta has made five changes to his starting line-up, with Cedric Soares, Gabriel Magalhaes, David Luiz, Dani Ceballos and Emile Smith Rowe all dropping out. Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Nicolas Pepe, Tierney and Elneny have come in.
Most of the reaction around Arteta’s team selection has centred around the Spaniard’s decision to double-up Granit Xhaka and Elneny as the two deep-lying midfielders in an effort to keep the back-four protected, especially with the in-form Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne starting for City.
Above, football.london has taken a close look at what some Arsenal fans have had to say on social media in response to Arteta’s selection.
You can follow all of this afternoon’s developments from the Emirates Stadium by following our dedicated live match blog.