Arsenal vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Predicted Starting Line-Up
The Wolverhampton Wanderers team create a huddle prior to the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton at Molineux on November 23, 2020, in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wolverhampton Wanderers face Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday as they look to bring back all three points from the red side of North London for the first time since 1979.

Wolves were missing captain Conor Coady for their last game against Southampton and his absence seemed to have an effect on their defensive solidity. Will he return this weekend?

Opponents Arsenal rotated in midweek against Molde in the Europa League so will have key players at full fitness on Sunday.

The opposition

The Gunners have had a mixed start to this season under Mikel Arteta and seem to be struggling for goals over recent weeks.

They sit 12th in the Premier League table and have only scored one goal in their last five league games. This goal came in a 1-0 win over Manchester United in what was Arteta’s side's only win in the league this month.

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To continue this poor November period for Arsenal, they have been hit by plenty of injuries. Thomas Partey picked up a knock in their loss to Aston Villa and he still remains side-lined.

Both Mohammed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac tested positive for COVID-19 during the international break and are continuing to follow protocols ahead of returning to the team.

Willian and Bukayo Saka are aiming to be fit for Sunday’s game after picking up slight knocks whilst Nicolas Pepe will be suspended after receiving a straight red card in the game against Leeds United.

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With these injury troubles, it is likely to see Arsenal line-up with a similar team to their 0-0 draw at Elland Road.

However, Pepe will be most likely be replaced by Reiss Nelson, who scored on Thursday evening, and striker Alexandre Lacazette may return in place of Willian with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang moving back out wide.

Possible Starting Line-Up

On Monday evening, Wolves started with a 4-4-2 formation to help deal with the absence of their club captain Coady. This was a rare change of system for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who usually line-up in their specialised three-at-the-back formations.

With Coady confirmed to be back on Sunday, it is likely that the Wanderers will return to three centre-backs with Max Kilman and Willy Boly remaining in the starting line-up.

Wolves have the best clean sheet record in the Premier League in 2020 with 13 shut-outs. Their defensive solidity comes from their system and after failing to keep a clean sheet with a changed formation last week, they will be hoping they can keep out low scoring Arsenal this weekend.

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Nelson Semedo has impressed since joining from Barcelona and is expected to start at right wing-back with Rayan Ait-Nouri starting on the left.

Ait-Nouri has had a great start to his career in the West Midlands and the youngster seems to have made a good impression on the fans and manager so far.

In central midfield, Nuno will have to choose two of the three players who started against Southampton. If they are to return to their usual formation then one of Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, and Leander Dendoncker will miss out.

Raul Jimenez, who has scored just under half of Wolves’ goals this season, will lead the line and will most likely be flanked by last week’s goalscorer Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence. Adama Traore was preferred to Neto in the previous game but the Spaniard struggled to make any sort of impact.

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Predicted Line-Up:

Patricio, Semedo, Kilman, Coady, Boly, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Dendoncker, Podence, Neto, Jimenez

Prediction

This could be a low scoring game at the Emirates. With Arsenal not firing and Wolves becoming heavily reliant on Jimenez’s form, goals could be limited.

The first goal will be extremely important in this fixture and whichever team gets the goal will have a huge advantage. The Wanderers will have Coady back and will line-up in their more recognised formation which may just give them the edge if they are to take the lead.

Arsenal need to bounce back and find a new lease of life, so they may come out fighting. However, if they continue their attacking struggles against one of the best defences in the league it is unlikely they’ll be able to grab a goal.

It is a tough game to predict, but as previously mentioned, the first goal is of paramount importance and whoever opens the scoring will more than likely go on to win a tight, low scoring game.

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