Arteta may make three changes to get Arsenal title charge on track
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Arsenal saw their hopes of a first Premier League title since 2004 take a setback last Saturday with defeat at Everton. Mikel Arteta could bring in three players from the cold to shake his team up and get back on track.
Ultimately, neither Arsenal or Manchester City gained or lost any points on each other last weekend. Tottenham did their north London rivals a favour by beating City on Sunday.
But defeat at Goodison Park may well be a result looked back on in May as a defining moment in the Gunners’ season. The main concern for supporters will be the manner of the defeat.
It wasn’t as if Arsenal were unlucky and had a string of refereeing decisions go against them. Everton were the better team and thoroughly deserved to win, arguably by a lot more than just one goal.
But Arsenal are still five points clear at the top and must banish that match to the back of their minds. Brentford are next up on Saturday, a team who Arteta’s side eased past 3-0 earlier in the campaign.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews Everton game
However, Thomas Frank’s side will make the trip across London as one of the form teams in the top flight. Arteta now has a stronger squad than he did at the start of January and is able to rotate if he so wished.
He has largely stuck with the same starting XI when fit this season. But perhaps a warning to the squad that their place isn’t completely safe could provide them with a timely boost.
Gabriel Martinelli only committed his future to the club last week, signing a new contract until 2027. But his form has dipped of late, both in terms of goal output and overall impact on a game.
Leandro Trossard has impressed in his appearances to date since his arrival from Brighton last month. He will be desperate to play a key role if he is thrown in on Saturday, with the idea of giving Martinelli a bit of a rest before bringing him back against City four days later.
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Arteta may well have half an eye on the visit of City when picking his team for Saturday. He will be wanting Oleksandr Zinchenko fit and fresh for the game against his old team and may be wary of his sketchy injury record this season.
Kieran Tierney is waiting for his chance and would provide something different down the left if he comes into the side. Ben White is another player who could be due a rest.
He has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season in a position he had rarely played in before. But the England international has not looked himself in the last couple of weeks.
Takehiro Tomiyasu hasn’t started a Premier League game at right-back this season. Now might be the perfect time for Arteta to go against what has become the norm and make a few changes to keep players fresh and on their toes.
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