Arsenal kick off the Unai Emery era at Emirates Stadium against the reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City, on Sunday.
It will be somewhat of a baptism of fire for the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager, but given Arsenal’s form on the opening weekend in recent years, home fans won’t be expecting too much from their new head coach.
Emery is certain to setup in a 4-2-3-1 formation as he often has throughout his career, and a number of new faces could feature in north London following a successful summer transfer window.
Here’s how the Gunners could start on Sunday.
Petr Čech (GK) – The first new face that Arsenal fans could see this weekend will not be Germany international Bernd Leno. Although many believe that the former Bayer Leverkusen star should get the nod, Unai Emery is expected to keep the faith with Čech against City.
Héctor Bellerín (RB) – Even though the veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner has impressed in pre-season, Arsenal will need Bellerín’s pace on Sunday.
Shkodran Mustafi (CB) – With Laurent Koscielny still unavailable, Mustafi will have to act as the leader in Arsenal’s defence.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (CB) – New boy Sokratis has looked shaky in pre-season but is expected to make his Premier League debut.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (LB) – Both Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolašinac are out, so Maitland-Niles will be made to play out of position at left back.
Lucas Torreira (DM) – The Uruguay international might be unknown by most fans at the Emirates, but Torreira’s aggression will be key to disrupting Manchester City’s attacking players.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – Having failed to impress the majority of supporters in north London, Xhaka could thrive alongside Torreira this season. Unai Emery is known to admire the Swiss midfielder too.
Aaron Ramsey (CM) – Was Arsenal’s player of the season last year and should be pushed further up the pitch to relieve Ramsey from his defensive duties.
Mesut Özil (RW) – Özil is likley to get the nod ahead of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and he will be given the licence to roam inside from the right hand side.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – Gooners saw it a lot last year, so Lacazette – the only Arsenal player to score against Manchester City last season – starting through the middle will come as no surprise.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LW) – Out on the left will be Aubameyang, but just like with Özil’s freedom to move inside, don’t be surprised to see Unai Emery’s attacking three rotate between narrow and wide attacks.