How Arsenal could line up vs Manchester City with Arteta set to miss game with Covid-19 and Saka hoping to sparkle again

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How Arsenal could line up vs Manchester City with Arteta set to miss game with Covid-19 and Saka hoping to sparkle again

Arsenal will start their new year with a difficult test against Premier League champions Manchester City – which they will have to beat without manager Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard is currently in isolation at home after contracting Covid-19, which has also driven a riot through the Gunners’ squad.

Mikel Arteta will miss Arsenal's Premier League clash with Manchester City on New Year's Day

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Mikel Arteta will miss Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Manchester City on New Year’s Daycredit: getty
Alexandre Lacazette will lead the line for the Gunners

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Alexandre Lacazette will lead the line for the Gunnerscredit: getty
SunSport's estimated Arsenal line-up vs Manchester City

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SunSport’s estimated Arsenal line-up vs Manchester City

Callum Chambers, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Cedric Soares have all contracted the virus and will miss a trip to the city.

But his absence will not radically change the Gunners’ starting XI – which Arteta will undoubtedly pick from the comfort of his own home.

In the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette is expected to lead the line, who is still serving a disciplinary sentence.

And the Frenchman is expected to be backed by the attacking trio of Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka by the north Londoners.

Arsenal expect Manchester City starting XI: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Magellahs, Tierney; Zaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; lacazette

However, Arteta may decide to take a more defensive-minded approach against deadly table toppers.

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The midfield three of Granit Zaka, Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneni could be deployed to suppress City’s big guns.

That would see Arteta implementing a 4-3-2-1 formation, which could include fit again Emil Smith Rowe and young workhorse Nuno Tavares.

Arsenal entered their clash with City after five victories in their last six games, in which they scored an impressive 20 goals.

And Arteta will be hoping his troops perform far more resiliently than they did in their 5-0 loss by City in August.

He added: “Well, I expect to experience a very different game.

SunSport's alternate starts with Arsenal XI vs Manchester City

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SunSport’s alternate starts with Arsenal XI vs Manchester City

“We start that game really positive, but in the first action we conceded a goal and went to do 10 men.

“Obviously playing 11 against 11 is quite difficult, so when it goes 10 against 11 for so long in the game, it becomes a real, real challenge and we have suffered.

“But some of those defeats help you become better and be together and understand what the level is, and the mistakes you can’t make against this type of protest.”

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