Arsenal team news: Predicted 4-2-3-1 line up vs West Ham – Lacazette benched, Mari starts

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will return to a more familiar starting eleven after making nine changes for the FA Cup fifth-round win over Portsmouth on Monday night. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of several who will return to the team for the visit of West Ham.

The Hammers pose a major threat to Arsenal’s unbeaten league record in 2020 given their current position in the league table, which sees them level on points with Bournemouth in the relegation zone.

Bottom-of-the-table Norwich are only six points behind the east Londoners and although West Ham have won just one of their last eight league matches, beating Southampton 3-1 at home last time out, the desperate battle for survival often sees sides put up a better fight towards the season’s climax.

David Moyes’ men gave leaders Liverpool a real fright at Anfield in their last match, coming from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 only to end up losing the match 3-2.

That performance, plus their three points over the Saints, will give them renewed confidence of a push for the Champions League spots, with an eight-point gap between Arsenal and fourth place.

And so Arteta will return to a full-strength line-up having stopped their rot at the Emirates, when they drew three and then lost three successive league matches, to win three of their last four including meetings with Manchester United and Everton.

No 1 goalkeeper Bernd Leno will replace Emiliano Martinez in goal despite his mistake in his last appearance against Olympiakos, failing to clear the ball before the Greek outfit scored an 119th minute goal to dump Arsenal out of the Europa League.

In defence, Arteta is expected to make just two changes to the back-line that overcame League One Pompey earlier in the week, with Pablo Mari being handed his league debut after an impressive showing on the south coast.

The Spanish coach said of his countryman: “He’s recovered really well from the game. He played 45 minutes with the under-23s four days before that game.

The Ivorian has a goal and three assists in his last two league matches, both coming at the Emirates.


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Mari will continue to partner David Luiz, although Shkodran Mustafi has impressed under Arteta, with Bukayo Saka continuing at left-back and Hector Bellerin resuming his right-back role over Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Ahead of the pair, Granit Xhaka will be partnered by Dani Ceballos, who Arteta also spoke about in his pre-match press conference.

Asked if Arsenal could sign Ceballos permanently from Real Madrid, the manager said of the on-loan midfielder: “We haven’t had any discussions about it. I’m really happy with Dani and what he’s bringing to the team right now.

“It took him a while after his injury to get to the level that he has and that I’ve seen in the past. He’s performing much better now and that’s why he’s playing much more games.”

The three-man attacking line behind Portsmouth could change entirely, with Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson making way if so.

That would see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang return on the left flank while Mesut Ozil would operate as the No 10.

Nelson was the man of the match against Pompey, registering two assists, but is expected to settle for a place on the bench with Nicolas Pepe returning to the team.

The Ivorian has a goal and three assists in his last two league matches, both coming at the Emirates.

Up top, with Alexandre Lacazette having struggled against Olympiakos, Eddie Nketiah could keep his place after netting against Pompey and Everton in his last two starts.

Arteta will then have the likes of Martinelli, Nelson and Lacazette in reserve. Lucas Torreira will not be in the squad as a result of an ankle fracture sustained on Monday.

Previewing the threat of the Hammers, meanwhile, Arteta added: “They caused a lot of problems to big teams recently. I know David [Moyes] because I worked with him for seven years.

“I know his structure, I know how organised he is. I am sure he’ll put a team out there that is going to make life very difficult for us.

“They will compete, they will be physical. We need to use our resources, play our game and then just think about performing. That performance will bring the points home.”

Arsenal starting line-up vs West Ham – Premier League

(4-2-3-1): Leno; Saka, Mari, Luiz, Bellerin; Xhaka, Ceballos; Aubameyang, Ozil, Pepe; Nketiah.

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