How will Arsenal line up for their Premier League opener against Liverpool?
Last Updated: 10/08/16 1:25pm
Arsenal open their Premier League campaign against Liverpool on Super Sunday, but how will they line up against Jurgen Klopp's side?
The Gunners are already facing a defensive headache after Gabriel Paulista was injured in their 3-2 win over Manchester City at the weekend, and supporters have been left frustrated by another slow summer in the transfer market.
So what could their starting XI look like on Sunday? We examine Arsene Wenger's options ahead of the big kick-off...
Petr Cech is preparing for his second campaign as Arsenal's first-choice goalkeeper. He will be hoping for a better season-opener than last year, when his errors gifted West Ham a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium. David Ospina will be back-up, with Wojciech Szczesny returning to Roma on loan.
Will Arsenal be punished for failing to strengthen their defence early in the transfer window? Gabriel has joined Per Mertesacker on the sidelines, and Wenger could be forced to rush Laurent Koscielny back against Liverpool. Their only other centre-back options are youngsters Rob Holding and Calum Chambers.
In the full-back spots, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal cemented first-choice status last season. Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs are the second options, although both players have been linked with moves away from the club this summer. The Gunners can ill-afford to lose any more defenders, though, and they are interested in signing Valencia's Shkrodan Mustafi.
The Gunners are well stocked in central midfield, with the £34m Granit Xhaka expected to start in front of the back four. Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny can also fulfil that role, while Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere provide a wealth of creative options in the middle. Mesut Ozil will return to his usual role behind the striker, but he won't be fit enough to face Liverpool after his extended summer break.
If Arsenal had got their way, Jamie Vardy would be walking out at the Emirates Stadium in a red shirt on Sunday. Instead, they are still searching for an alternative. Alexandre Lacazette might be that man, but in the meantime they can't even call on Olivier Giroud, who is still building up his fitness.
Wenger deployed Alexis Sanchez as his central striker in Arsenal's 3-2 win over Manchester City on Sunday. His other options are to use Theo Walcott there or turn to the 20-year-old Chuba Akpom, who scored four goals in four games during pre-season.
Arsenal v Liverpool is live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 3.30pm on Sunday