Arsenal XI vs West Ham: Auba, Laca, Odegaard & Pepe to Start in Attack

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Bukayo Saka will be assessed for hamstring tightness ahead of the trip to West Ham, having been substituted in the north London derby last weekend and then having missed out against Olympiacos.

Mikel Arteta had earlier in the week declared that the young winger was “much better” but his subsequent comments have been less positive, and the fact that the Arsenal boss discussed “talking to the doctors of the national team” perhaps doesn’t bode well for Gameweek 29.

Willian had also missed out on Thursday because of a tight calf, so news is awaited in the Gunners’ weekly medical bulletin as to the chances of the Brazilian featuring at the London Stadium.

Rotation around Europa League ties has dogged Arsenal over the last few weeks, with mainstays Granit Xhaka and Bernd Leno the only players to dodge benchings between Gameweeks 24 and 28.

Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Cedric are all strong candidates to return after breathers in midweek, with the likes of Mohamed Elneny and Dani Ceballos making way.

Arteta has reiterated that no problem remains with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after disciplinary issues caused him to sit out the north London derby but a sub-par showing in Europe and a rest for Lacazette does raise the spectre of another benching at West Ham.

His saving grace might well be his versatility to play out wide and the possible (but as yet unconfirmed) unavailability of Saka and Willian, with Emile Smith-Rowe – who starred on the left against Spurs – also cutting a tired figure on his latest run-out against Olympiacos.

There is plenty of uncertainty at centre-half, with David Luiz and Gabriel starting the last three competitive matches together but Rob Holding and particularly Pablo Mari seeing pitch-time when rotation has struck recently.

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