Arsenal have dropped captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for tonight’s trip to Everton in the Premier League.
The striker has been on a poor run of form, and was again unable to find the back of the net against United in the Gunners’ last match. Alexandre Lacazette comes in to replace him.
Emile Smith Rowe misses out on the squad completely in what is a blow for Mikel Arteta.
The newly-capped England playmaker scored a bizarre opening goal in Thursday’s frustrating 3-2 defeat by United, but later picked up a knock at Old Trafford and was replaced by Bukayo Saka with 20 minutes to go.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta says Smith Rowe has shown encouraging signs since then, but the decision has been made to leave him out.
“He had some discomfort during the game and we decided to take him off. He’s been evolving well over the last few days, so we have to wait until tomorrow to see how he is,” the Spaniard said at his pre-match press conference.
Arsenal remain without Sead Kolasinac, while Bernd Leno missed the defeat at United with a tight groin as 20-year-old goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo served as back-up to first-choice Aaron Ramsdale instead, which he does again tonight.
However, Granit Xhaka is straight back into the side after resuming partial team training having recovered quicker than expected from a knee injury suffered in September that was initially expected to keep him sidelined until the New Year.
“He is progressing well, he is doing all the right things and he’s feeling better but no more news on that,” Arteta said on Xhaka.
“It’s very positive because the evolution he is doing is great, he is partially training with the team and he is heading in the right direction.”
Pressed if Xhaka could play some part against Everton, the manager responded: “This week he has progressed again to a different level, and tomorrow we will assess how he is, have a conversation with him and decide when is the best moment to start to give him some exposure in games.
“Yes, it will be [a boost to have Xhaka back] and we miss him, he is one of our leaders, one of the senior players who adds something very valuable to the team and hopefully we can have him back soon.”
Arteta has decided to bring Xhaka straight back into the fold, alongside Thomas Partey in midfield. Kieran Tierney also returns to the starting lineup.
Arsenal XI: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Lacazette
Subs: Okonwo, Holding, Tavares, Cedric, Elneny, Lokonga, Pepe, Aubameyang, Nketiah