Arsenal are sweating on the fitness of Alexandre Lacazette ahead of their opening Premier League match of the season against Newcastle on Sunday (2pm), according to Express.co.uk.
The Frenchman picked up an ankle injury during the Emirates Cup defeat to Lyon last month, ruling him out of Arsenal’s final two summer friendlies.
Gunners boss Unai Emery is expecting that Lacazette will recover in time to feature against Newcastle, with the Spaniard already short of personnel for the trip to St James’ Park.
However, medical staff will make the final decision on the 28-year-old’s participation so Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may be called upon to lead the line against the Magpies.
Speaking about Lacazette on Sunday, Emery said: “Hopefully he could be ready for the match against Newcastle and doctors are optimistic, but the next days will be very important.
“If he is ready, perfect – if not, the next [game against Burnley].”
If fit, Lacazette will be deployed centrally with Aubameyang shifting out to the left-wing.
Mesut Ozil is most likely to start in the No. 10 role while Henrikh Mkhitaryan could line up on the right with Nicolas Pepe still working his way up to full fitness.
Granit Xhaka should anchor the midfield alongside Matteo Guendouzi with loan signing Dani Ceballos nursing a slight injury and Lucas Torreira short of match fitness.
Hector Bellerin is still recuperating after a severe knee injury while Rob Holding is in a similar position and Konstantinos Mavropanos is sidelined with a muscle problem.
Therefore, Ainsley Maitland-Niles will start at right-back and Callum Chambers could be preferred to Shkodran Mustafi alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Nacho Monreal looks set to get the nod ahead of Sead Kolasinac at left-back, although their long-term prospects may be harmed with the Gunners closing in on Kieran Tierney.
David Luiz is also nearing a shock move from Chelsea, although it remains to be seen if the Brazilian would be eligible to feature this weekend.
Arsenal Predicted Line-Up Vs Newcastle United
(4-2-3-1): Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Sokratis, Monreal; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago