Arsenal

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Arsenal return to Premier League action this weekend with a chance to continue their hunt for the title and maintain top spot. They host Wolverhampton Wanderers who were beaten comfortably on the final day of last season.

The Gunners follow on from yet another dramatic late victory in their previous fixture. A Kai Havertz goal was enough to secure all three points and give the German a significant confidence boost which then saw him open the scoring in midweek.

The 6-0 win over RC Lens showcased exactly what this Arsenal side is capable of and they’ll hope to repeat it this weekend against Gary O’Neil’s side. With Manchester City playing Tottenham, and Newcastle playing Manchester United it is another chance for the Gunners to gain some points on some of the other sides in the hunt.

This means that Mikel Arteta needs to get his team spot on for the clash at the Emirates Stadium. Thankfully for him, football.london’s writers are on hand to help and below is who they think should start for Arsenal against Wolves.

Tom Canton – Arsenal writer
This is a really simple decision for me considering the success that we witnessed in midweek against RC Lens. The attacking threat that the front five possessed led the Gunners to six goals and certainly a tally that would significantly help their Premier League goal difference which could be vital come the end of the season.

It was the first time this season that we have seen Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard all start together as a front five and the results spoke for themselves. Whilst the best XI might not exist for Mikel Arteta at the moment, there is excitement about what this combination could bring.

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has urged Mikel Arteta to wrap Declan Rice up in ‘cotton wool’ as the midfielder has been their best player ‘by a million miles’ so far this term.

The 24-year-old left Merson in awe as Arsenal ran riot to beat RC Lens 6-0 in the Champions League this Wednesday night. Rice started the Group B encounter for his fifth appearance in the UEFA competition to date. He has started in all five of the Gunners’ matches this season.

Rice had never featured in the Champions League before signing for Arsenal from West Ham United in a club-record transfer. He had only played 10 fixtures in the Europa League and 11 fixtures in the Europa Conference League over the previous two seasons with the Hammers.

Merson hails Rice after starring in Arsenal’s win over Lens

Yet Arsenal signing Rice has given the 48-cap England international the platform to prove he belongs in the Champions League. Arteta has relished watching the Irons product help them run the show in Europe. He anchored the Gunners’ engine room to perfection against Lens.

Rice mopped up possession time and time again near enough whenever Lens threatened to test Arsenal. His drive in possession and superb distribution also teed the Gunners up to test Les Sang et Or. Gunners fans rightly rose to give Rice a standing ovation when he walked off.

Arteta substituted Rice after 75 minutes in Arsenal’s 6-0 beating of Lens as the boss looked ahead to Saturday’s Premier League game at Emirates Stadium against Wolves. He was keen to manage his minutes having started the midfielder in 19 of his 20 outings from 21 fixtures.

Rice has opened all 13 of Arsenal’s Premier League fixtures and their five Champions League ties since moving to north London. He also started the Community Shield during August. So, Merson is keen for Arteta to take care of Rice given how brilliant he has played with Arsenal.

“I’d probably bring off Rice now if I’m honest,” Merson told Sky Sports three minutes before Jorginho replaced the London-born anchor at home to Lens. “He’s been their best player by a million miles this season. [Arteta has] got to wrap him up in cotton wool.”

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