Arsenal may rest eight stars vs FC Zurich to prepare for Everton

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta may rest eight players for Thursday’s Europa League opener against FC Zurich. The Gunners took a strong squad to Switzerland on Wednesday evening but a much-changed XI is expected.

Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League table despite their 100 per cent start to the season ending in Sunday’s loss at Manchester United. League action will be Arteta’s priority for the first half of the campaign at least.

Arsenal should make it through to the knockout stage of the Europa League, even if they give chances to more of their squad players. And with Everton on the horizon on Sunday, Arteta will be wary of giving some players a rest.

The Spaniard is already missing five players due to injury to limit his options. Mohamed Elneny is out for a sustained period, while Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, Cedric Soares and Reiss Nelson all didn’t travel.

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In goal, Matt Turner is likely to make his Gunners debut. The USA international joined earlier this summer and is set to deputise for Aaron Ramsdale in this competition.

Takehiro Tomiyasu is in line to make his first start of the season. He will come in at right-back and Ben White will likely shift into the middle of defence.

White will likely partner Rob Holding, giving William Saliba and Gabriel a breather. Kieran Tierney should come back in at left-back, in place of Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Arsenal’s midfield options are extremely limited. With Partey hopeful of being back in training at some point this week, Albert Sambi Lokonga will likely start again in a deep role.

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Granit Xhaka may well have to start in Zurich due to a lack of alternatives. Fabio Vieira should make his full debut to give captain Martin Odegaard a break.

In attack, Bukayo Saka is in need of a rest and should begin the game on the bench. He could well be joined among the substitutes by Gabriel Jesus.

Eddie Nketiah will likely come into the team up front, as should new signing Marquinhos who is yet to make his debut. Gabriel Martinelli has started all six league matches so far this season but he could get the nod to play again as there is no one else to fill in.

Arsenal expected XI vs FC Zurich: Turner; Tomiyasu, White, Holding, Tierney; Lokonga, Vieira, Xhaka; Marquinhos, Nketiah, Martinelli

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