Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has refused to rule out the prospect of shuffling his team in pre-match conference ahead of Manchester City’s clash by indicating that the change will ‘come soon’.
Mikel Arteta has made the fewest amount of changes to his starting XI this season in the Premier League, making just 14 alterations in our 21 league matches including naming an unchanged side in the past six.
A club-record seventh could follow if he keeps faith with the same side that drew 1-1 with Brentford, but with players such as Leandro Trossard knocking on the door after netting from the bench, Mikel is weighing up shuffling his pack or sticking with the same players that drove us to the division’s summit.
Speaking about selection dilemmas in his pre-match press conference, he said: “That’s more determined by results, but for us, it’s more about performances and what players have given us to take us to the position we are in today. “They deserve opportunities. Obviously we are looking to give players opportunities that they deserve. You talked about Leo – we’re talking about anybody who has had minutes in this league. There will be changes – it will happen and very soon.”
“There will be changes and it’s going to happen soon.”
– Mikel Arteta.
Arteta feels the mood in the camp means that whoever is picked will be aiming to bounce back from the weekend, especially with the world watching.
“There is a great energy, I sensed it after I arrived after the Brentford game from the start,” he added. “Around the club, there was a mixture of anger and a desire to play the next game, so we need to use that for tomorrow.”
“Everybody that we had from the previous game is available so far, unless something strange happens today. We’re looking forward to it.”
When it comes to personnel, Arteta admitted he will decide if Emile Smith Rowe or Reiss Nelson are fit enough to play a part against the reigning champions at a packed Emirates Stadium.
Both Smith Rowe and Nelson have missed 13 and 16 games in total respectively through injury so far this season, and coupled up with the injury to Gabriel Jesus, it has meant that the North Londoners have lacked depth in attacking areas at times.
In the 1-1 draw at home to Brentford at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Arteta only had Leandro Trossard and young Amario Cozier-Duberry as real attacking options that he could call upon from the bench, and coupled up with the 1-0 loss away at Everton, the lack of options are starting to cost them points in the Premier League.
Nelson already showed his credentials earlier this season, scoring two goals and making one assist in a 5-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest having had to come off the bench early for an injured Saka, while Smith Rowe’s quality is known, as he managed ten goals and two assists in the Premier League last term.
The Gunners are seeking to avoid a third successive league game without a victory, while the Citizens could knock the North Londoners off their perch at the summit should they claim maximum points in the capital.