Arsenal Starting Lineups Against RC Lens: Ramsdale Gets the Nod, Smith Rowe Given a Chance, and Saka’s Role
Mikel Arteta may have kept everyone guessing regarding the fitness of his players prior to Arsenal’s weekend victory over Bournemouth, but his team selection was ultimately unsurprising.
This is something of a first for the Gunners manager this season, as he elected to stick with the same lineup that began the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur six days prior, with the main difference being that his side was more ruthless on both ends to earn all three points.
Arsenal’s upcoming UEFA Champions League opponent is Ligue 1’s RC Lens. With the upcoming match against Manchester City, it is likely that Arteta will make substitutions to ensure that the entire squad is in peak condition.
On Tuesday night, he can utilize players such as Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jakub Kiwior, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Fabio Vieira, and possibly Thomas Partey.
With Manchester City on the horizon, Mikel Arteta would want to rotate as frequently as possible. This begins in goal, where I would prefer Aaron Ramsdale over David Raya, primarily to preserve the Spaniard’s freshness for Sunday, but also to keep the Englishman involved.
I believe I would substitute Takehiro Tomiyasu for Oleksandr Zinchenko in the defense. The Ukrainian will be crucial to winning the midfield battle against City, so I believe it is prudent to preserve his health. I would start the rest of the usual back four, but Jakub Kiwior would be a sub I would attempt to use throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Thomas Partey’s return to the midfield is premature, and with Declan Rice still suffering from a back injury, I believe Jorginho should start this game. I’d also bring back Fabio Vieira and start Emile Smith Rowe instead of Martin Odegaard, again with City in mind.
Personally, I would not initially risk Bukayo Saka. Leandro Trossard is fit so you can give him some minutes to get him involved and up to speed for City. Meanwhile, I would keep Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus in the starting lineup, as they performed well against Bournemouth.
Arsenal XI vs Lens: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Vieira; Trossard, Nketiah, Jesus.