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How Arsenal could line-up on opening day as Thomas Partey injury forces reshuffle

Partey is expected to miss the Arsenal’s trip to Brentford on Friday, August 13 due to an ankle injury picked up during the Gunners’ friendly defeat at the hands of London rivals Chelsea last weekend

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Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their preparations for the new season.

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The Gunners are set to be without midfielder Thomas Partey after he sustained an ankle injury in a friendly with Chelsea on Sunday, which Mikel Arteta’s side lost 2-1.

According to, the 28-year-old will miss Arsenal’s Premier League curtain-raiser at newly-promoted Brentford on Friday, August 13.

Partey may not be available to face the Blues in the league on Sunday, August 22 either, in the Gunners’ first home game of the term.

This means Arteta will need to rethink his plans, with Partey likely to have been one of the first names on his teamsheet prior to the knock. So how could the planned starting XI look now?

Thomas Partey picked up an injury in the first half of Arsenal’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Chelsea on Sunday
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AFP via Getty Images)

Despite being linked to a goalkeeper this season, Bernd Leno is set to start between the posts for his fourth campaign at the club.

Hector Bellerin, in spite of his seven years of first-team service and 258 appearances, may be about to lose his right-back spot.

Reportedly keen on a move away from North London this summer, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have all shown interest but the Spaniard looks set to stay, although Calum Chambers is expected to get the nod.

At centre-back, new 23-year-old pairing Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes are set to form a partnership over the course of 2020-21, but the latter has not featured since the final day of the season due to injury.

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Because of that, Rob Holding looks set to start alongside the £50million White and Kieran Tierney has left-back nailed on, despite the arrival of Nuno Tavares.

The real change from what Arsenal fans expected to see comes in midfield.

Alongside new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga in the double pivot was expected to be Partey, with Granit Xhaka’s departure for Roma seen as an eventuality for most of the summer.

Sunday changed things, though, with Xhaka scoring after replacing the former Atletico Madrid man and reacting well to his transfer collapse.

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Mikel Arteta will have to rethink his starting XI for Arsenal’s opening game of the Premier League season due to Thomas Partey’s injury

“At the moment it’s not looking good because he was in pain and he could not continue which for Thomas is pretty unusual,” Arteta said post-defeat on Partey.

Ahead of them, it’s expected that Pepe, Emile Smith Rowe (fresh with a new contract and shirt number, 10) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are expected feature from the off.

Bukayo Saka’s summer will likely have put the 19-year-old on the edge of overload, not to mention what he had to suffer in the aftermath of missing his decisive for England in the Euro 2020 final.

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Alexandre Lacazette is therefore set to get the nod and start up front but the signing of Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham could well displace things at the top end.

Top-flight newcomers Brentford are bound to cause Arteta and co some problems, but their youthful team will be confident of beginning a new era the Gunners as they look to return to the top six places.

Arsenal’s possible line-up for their opening game: Leno; Chambers, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Lokonga, Xhaka; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette

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