After a sour end to 2023 in the Premier League, Arsenal have gotten right back on track. The Gunners have played six in the league this year, won six, scored 25 and conceded just three. They will hope to extend their winning run to seven as they face rock-bottom Sheffield United.
Arsenal predicted lineup analysis:
The pressure will be on Arteta’s men when they travel to Sheffield on Monday evening, as Liverpool and Manchester City will have already played. But with previously injured players like Thomas Partey, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus all likely to make the squad for this one, Arteta may see this game as a chance to keep his whole squad fresh.
Goalkeeper and defenders:
Raya may not have been the goalkeeper Arsenal supporters wanted, but all are starting to come around to Mikel Arteta’s choice.
Raya’s distribution, calm temperament and freakish ability to claim crosses make him the Gunners’ number one.
In the absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber, Benjamin White has had to hold down the right-back slot single-handedly this season, at times through injury.
The Englishman has looked fresh again since Arsenal’s break to Dubai, and hopefully will have some relief soon, with Tomiyasu and Timber close to returns.
William Saliba has played every league minute for Arsenal this season. His reading of the game, composure in possession and physical prowess make him one of the best in the world.
It’s unlikely he’ll sit this one out with a full week of rest either side.
The dog to Saliba’s cat is Gabriel. The big Brazilian is aggressive, powerful, and deceptively skilful.
Gabriel has grabbed headlines this season with his goalscoring and is at 7/1 to score anytime.
With Tomiyasu and Zinchenko both out in recent weeks, natural centre-back Jakub Kiwior has been at left-back for Arsenal.
The Poland international deserves a lot of credit for his performances, and scored his first goal of the season against Newcastle. If he hadn’t adapted as quickly, Arsenal may not be on their present run.
Zinchenko will likely get some minutes later on, but Kiwior deserves another start.
Norway captain Martin Ødegaard may not be scoring at the same rate he was last season, but has been pulling just about every string for the Gunners this season.
He leads the press with vigour, progresses the ball from deep, creates chances and combines with teammates. He is utterly indispensable to Arsenal.
Another player essential to Arsenal this campaign has been Declan Rice.
The £105m man is maybe the best tackler in the world, but has also popped up with key goals and showed a penchant for a wicked set-piece delivery in recent weeks.
Emile Smith Rowe
Playing the Premier League’s whipping boys could mean a start for Emile Smith Rowe. The Englishman made his first league start in 18 months against the Blades in October and will be desperate to reignite his Arsenal career with a goal. He is at 15/2 to open the scoring.
‘Starboy’ Bukayo Saka has arguably been the best player in the league in 2024, with seven goals and an assist this year.
Saka is a truly multifaceted attacker, who can hurt opponents from nearly any situation.
After missing five games, Gabriel Jesus may finally make his comeback against the Blades. The Brazilian has had to watch much of Arsenal’s astonishing recent run from the bench.
After being an unused sub against Newcastle last week, Arteta may see this game as a good chance to get Jesus back up to speed. He is at 4/5 to score or assist in this one.
Brazilian speedster Gabriel Martinelli hasn’t had as many goalscoring chances this campaign as last, but the 22-year-old is still a crucial part of Arsenal’s attack. He provides much of the width and a huge threat in behind that stretches defences and pushes them back, in a way that nobody else in the Arsenal squad really can.