Rice role change, Jorginho return, Zinchenko dilemma as Arsenal face Liverpool

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Rice role change, Jorginho return, Zinchenko dilemma as Arsenal face Liverpool

Jorginho return can trigger role change for Arsenal star vs Liverpool as Zinchenko risk remains

 

The first of three games in eight days for Arsenal begins this weekend as they face Liverpool this weekend in a game that will have huge implications at the top of the Premier League table.

 

Interestingly with Aston Villa in action against Sheffield United on Friday night, there's a scenario where a draw at Anfield means Unai Emery's side lead the way at Christmas. Although, should there be a winner on Saturday evening then that side is guaranteed to be top on Monday.

 

The north London outfit head into the game on the back of an impressive 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend and know if they manage to record a win at Anfield in the Premier League for the first time since 2012 means they'll be number one on Christmas Day for the second successive year.

 

Five days after the trip to Merseyside, Arsenal will welcome West Ham United to the Emirates Stadium and squad rotation is going to be key with the games coming in quick succession, although Mikel Arteta isn't expected to have Jurrien Timber, Takehiro Tomiyasu or Fabio Vieira available for selection during the festive period.

 

Unlike Liverpool, the Gunners have had almost a week to prepare for this fixture which means Arteta can name an unchanged team for a third Premier League game in a row. Having said that, he could be in a position to welcome back one or two senior players which can lead to some alterations in the matchday squad.

 

Facing one of the 'big six' clubs away from home marks another test of Arsenal's title credentials and therefore, football.london takes a look at the changes Arteta could make to either his starting XI or matchday squad for the big game against Liverpool.

 

Rice role change

The role of Declan Rice in Arsenal's midfield could change at Anfield especially if games against the other 'big six' sides this season are any indication as the £105million summer signing operated slightly higher against Manchester City and Chelsea, not to mention the Newcastle United clash too.

 

Having said that, he did continue in his usual number six role for the Gunners' last away game in the Premier League against Aston Villa almost a fortnight ago and with Kai Havertz finding some goalscoring form, there's a decision for Arteta to make. Ultimately though, a change for Rice depends on the return of another midfielder.

 

Jorginho return

In the absence of Thomas Partey, Jorginho has started for Arsenal alongside Rice in midfield against Man City, Chelsea and Newcastle this season. However, after missing the win over Brighton last week, naturally he is a doubt to face Liverpool but he's optimistic of returning sooner rather than later.

 

Should the Italy international be passed fit and subsequently included in the Gunners' matchday squad for the trip to Anfield he could be in contention for a start or replace youngster Myles Lewis-Skelly on the substitutes bench.

 

Zinchenko dilemma

If Tomiyasu was fit and available for selection, it wouldn't have been a surprise if he was handed a start at Anfield as he's defensively stronger than Oleksandr Zinchenko which is ideal considering the threat Liverpool pose down their right-hand side in Mohamed Salah in particular.

 

But barring a miraculous recovery, the Japan international won't be in contention for Saturday so Zinchenko is likely to start at left-back. Or will he? Well, as defensive options are quite thin for Arsenal at the moment the only other senior option at Arteta's disposal is Jakub Kiwior.

 

This could be worth serious consideration because of Zinchenko's lapses in concentration in recent weeks. Furthermore, he's already been hauled off at half-time in one big away game (Chelsea), overlooked to start in another (Newcastle) and didn't have the best of times on his last visit to Anfield.

 

Source: Arsenal- Football.London

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