Arsenal line up vs Fulham predicted with Mikel Arteta to hand out debuts

Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba are three players who could make their competitive debuts for Arsenal when they face Fulham.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has a number of options to choose from when selecting his team to face Fulham in the Gunners’ first game of the new Premier League season.

They have made a number of signings this summer, making Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares’ loan moves permanent, bringing in Willian on a free transfer and forking out over £20m for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes.

William Saliba is also in contention for a competitive debut, after spending last season on loan at Saint-Etienne.

One of the most difficult decisions Arteta has to make is in between the sticks, with Bernd Leno now fit and Emiliano Martinez impressing in the German’s absence.

Martinez was given the nod in Arsenal’s Community Shield win over Liverpool and, despite speculation linking him with a move away, the Argentinian is in possession and it would be harsh to drop him back to the bench.

Arteta is expected to continue with the back five system which served him so well post-lockdown but will be without David Luiz, who suffered a neck spasm against Liverpool, and Sokratis, who has a calf strain.

Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney are likely to continue as two of the three centre-backs and Luiz’s injury means one of Saliba or Magalhaes will make their debut.

It may be too soon for Magalhaes, who joined last month, while Saliba has played alongside Holding and Tierney in pre-season, meaning he is expected to get the nod.

Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will continue in the wing-back roles, with Dani Ceballos expected to rekindle his midfield partnership with Granit Xhaka after rejoining Arsenal on loan.

Willian is also in line for a debut and could make up a formidable front three alongside Eddie Nketiah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal’s predicted XI to face Fulham: Martinez, Saliba, Holding, Tierney, Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitlaind-Niles, Willian, Nketiah, Aubameyang.