We’re just a day away from Premier League football returning after a long su… oh wait. The summer wasn’t even that long.
Just six weeks after lifting the FA Cup final on August 1, Arsenal begin their 2020/21 season with a trip to newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday [September 12].
Although an eighth place finish last year would have frustrated Mikel Arteta and his squad, they will be looking to build on the momentum formed in the side’s FA Cup run and Community Shield victory.
Here, we ask our Arsenal writers how they would set up the team if they were in charge at Craven Cottage. Find out what they said below.
As for the shape of the team, the back three first used after the restart continued during pre-season and so will most likely be used at Fulham. William Saliba will take the right-sided role and with David Luiz dropping out, Rob Holding moves more central.
There may be expectations for a Gabriel Magalhaes debut but considering he joined the club just this month, throwing him for his full debut on the first day of an incredibly important season appears unlikely.
Kieran Tierney will continue as the left-sided centre-back with Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left wing-back, where he has excelled under Arteta in the FA Cup run as well as the Community Shield win over Liverpool.
Hector Bellerin will keep his place as the starting right wing-back as Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka reunite in midfield. Mohamed Elneny did impress in his time alongside the Swiss in pre-season but the partnership formed between Ceballos and Xhaka last season was the foundation for Arsenal to build on moving forward.
Dani Ceballos’ return means the midfield four can be unchanged from the FA Cup final win over Chelsea.
As Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe are probably short of fitness, Bukayo Saka and the in-form Eddie Nketiah are well placed to partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack.
Tashan Deniran-Alleyne’s XI: Leno; Saliba, Holding, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Saka, Nketiah, Aubameyang