One thing you can guarantee from Arsenal is an injury crisis at some point during the season, but any Gunner would be surprised at just how quickly this one has come around, with the season not even kicking off yet.
Gabriel is likely to be out for at least a month with Per Mertesacker out potentially until the new year, meaning Laurent Koscielny might have to be rushed back into action having only returned from extended leave recently.
To partner the Frenchman, Wenger will likely look towards Calum Chambers, although he has utilised Polish youngster Krystian Bielik as a centre half in pre-season. As it seems too early for him, we could see Wenger take a similar risk in the form of either Elneny or Coquelin at centre half.
Two other first team players who are going to miss out will be Olivier Giroud and Mesut Özil, who, like Koscielny, only recently returned from breaks after Euro 2016.
Although not as major, Liverpool are also suffering from injuries to first team players. Vice-captain James Milner picked up a knock in the win over Barcelona, and a day later Marko Grujic also received a knock, although it isn’t meant to be serious. Daniel Sturridge (surprise -surprise) missed out on both of Liverpool’s last two pre-season games with an injury and won’t feature at the Emirates. Loris Karius is out after breaking his hand, alongside Mamadou Sakho, who is suffering from ongoing Achilles issues.
Joel Matip however managed to recover from an injury picked up in pre-season and featured in the 4-0 loss against Mainz, and looks almost certain to make his debut this weekend.
Predicted Lineup – Arsenal
It’s almost guaranteed that Arsenal will play 4-2-3-1 the only thing left to do is fill in the players. Petr Cech is first choice in net with two of the best full-backs in the league in Bellerin and Monreal.
Of the centre back pairings that I looked at, Koscielny and Chambers seems most likely. Rather than play Elneny at centre half he will be used to sweep up in front of the centre backs giving Xhaka the freedom to roam and dictate the play. On the wings Wenger will look to the Ox and Alex Iwobi, with Theo Walcott looking like he is falling down the pecking order at the Emirates.
Ramsey will roam behind Alexis Sanchez, who will likely play a false nine role, and give Arsenal a different dimension than when they play Giroud up front.
Predicted Lineup – Liverpool
With Loris Karius out, the only real option would be to play Simon Mignolet, with Alex Manninger likely to have come in with more of a coaching role, rather than to actually play. At centre back, in my opinion, Klavan has to play. He was brilliant throughout pre-season and with Lovren carrying a knock, Matip will make his debut in a new look centre back pairing.
Obvious choice at right-back, in my opinion is currnetly the best English right back, Nathaniel Clyne. I also have to choose Moreno at left back, although I do this tentatively.
The anchor man of a three man midfield will be Emre Can, and I have to leave out Henderson given how well Lallana and Wijnaldum played against Barcelona. The front three is also the same three who started at Wembley, with Origi likely to come off the bench at some point like he did in the Barcelona victory.
Written by Liam Grimshaw (@LiamGrimshaw)