How Arsenal could line up for Premier League opener against Brentford with Thomas Partey one of three players ruled out

ARSENAL get their 2021-22 Premier League season underway with a short trip to North London rivals Brentford on Friday night.

But boss Mikel Arteta will head to the Brentford Community Stadium without THREE first-team stars.


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The Gunners will be without Thomas Partey, Gabriel Magalhaes and Eddie Nketiah through injury.

On top of that, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have only recently returned from international duty and may not be match-ready.

Saka, 19, has returned to training following his Euro 2020 heroics with England, while Martinelli, 20, was helping Brazil win gold at the Olympics.

They may start the game on the bench, but Arteta will be frustrated to be missing two of his key men for the game in Partey and Gabriel.

Partey, 28, injured the ligaments in his right ankle during last weekend's friendly with Chelsea, while Gabriel, 23, has an issue with his right knee.

Nketiah, 22, will also be missing after suffering nasty bruising to his right ankle against the Blues.

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But Arsenal will still be able to field a strong-looking XI for their season's curtain-raiser.

Bernd Leno is a certainty to start in goal, with Pablo Mari and £50million signing Ben White also highly likely to begin the game, given Gabriel's injury.

Kieran Tierney should keep new arrival Nuno Tavares out of the team, with Arteta opting for a flat-back-four in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Right-back is arguably the biggest question mark for Arteta, with Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares vying for the starting spot.

All three started a game apiece in pre-season and with Bellerin thought to be moving away from the Emirates this summer, Chambers looks the most likely to be given the nod.

In midfield, Granit Xhaka and Albert Lokonga should start in midfield in Partey's absence, with Mohamed Elneny on the bench.

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Emile Smith Rowe will almost certainly be given the nod in the No10 role.

The three attacking spots are then up for grabs, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, Saka and Martinelli looking to start.

With Saka and Martinelli only just returning to the squad, Lacazette could start through the middle with Aubameyang on the left and Pepe on the right.

But arguably Arsenal's strongest – and certainly most exciting – line up would see Saka and Martinelli on the wings with Aubameyang through the middle.

Arteta will have to make a late call ahead of Friday's 8pm kick.

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