It was so near, yet so far for Arsenal at the weekend.
Despite dominating much of the north London Derby against Tottenham, Mikel Arteta’s side were cruelly robbed by a late Toby Alderweireld header – sending their bitter rivals above them in the Premier League table.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Gunners either, with a trip to Anfield to face record-points chasing Liverpool next on the agenda. So what should Arteta do ahead of his toughest away game as manager?
Here’s 90min‘s take on who should play.
Emiliano Martinez (GK)- The Argentine stopper has been excellent since he stepped in for the injured Bernd Leno, highlighted by his blinding fingertip save from Ben Davies at the weekend. More of the same may be needed here.
Shkodran Mustafi (CB)– Mustafi had a pretty ordinary game against Spurs, as he so often does in big games. Although he has improved since the restart, his lapses in concentration and dreadful decision making continue to haunt him and, if Arteta had other options, he’d probably be axed. But he doesn’t, so he won’t.
David Luiz (CB)– Although many would love to blame Luiz for the mix up that led to Son Heung-min’s goal on Sunday, it was a bit of a hospital pass from teammate Sead Kolasinac if we’re being honest. The Brazilian wasn’t great again, but he’s needed in this Arsenal defence right now.
Kieran Tierney (CB)– Kolasinac may pay the price for his sloppy weekend display, and that could lead to a reshuffle and new role for Tierney. It would mean Bukayo Saka reverting back to left wing-back, but that makes a whole lot of sense given Liverpool’s pace in the wide areas.
Hector Bellerin (RWB)– Bellerin should get the nod over Cedric Soares on the right flank, though he needs to start producing further forward if he’s to keep the Portuguese international out of the side. Has looked threatening going forward without offering much substance of late.
Dani Ceballos (CM)– One of the brightest lights against Spurs, Ceballos ran the midfield with aplomb, particularly in the first half. His ability to carry the ball between the lines and work tirelessly to keep possession has Gunners’ fans taking notice, despite a slow start.
Granit Xhaka (CM)– It’s been a total turnaround for the former captain, who looked to be on the way out in January. While Xhaka’s probably not the long-term answer in the middle of the park, he has formed a solid partnership with Ceballos.
Bukayo Saka (LWB)– Recently, Saka’s been spending time on the opposite flank, playing in a more advanced role and cutting in on his left foot. Here, though, his pace may be needed to combat Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold – and it will be a real test of how far the 18-year-old has come.
Nicolas Pepe (RW)– Pepe was impressive against Tottenham in the opening 45 minutes, and was one of the driving forces behind the sustained attacking dominance Arsenal enjoyed. But, like he often does, he faded in the second half – and this lack of consistency is beginning to frustrate.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST)– Everyone was clamouring for Lacazette to cut loose and get back in amongst the goals and boy did he deliver at the weekend. The Frenchman’s opening goal was outstanding and he should have had another in the second half too.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LW)– The skipper was pretty quiet against Spurs, but did still rattle the crossbar. Still in with a chance of winning the golden boot, but Aubameyang will need to overcome a poor record against