Granit Xhaka will miss Arsenal’s trip to face faltering Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight, which is a major blow given how well the Swiss international has dovetailed with Lucas Torreira in recent games.
Matteo Guendouzi will expect to get the nod alongside the Uruguayan, so long as Unai Emery sees no reason to deviate from the double pivot midfield axis which brought him so much success in the 4-2 win over Tottenham on Sunday.
The 19-year-old midfielder is clearly talented and fearless but was endured a chastening Premier League debut back in August, when the occasion and the talent of the opposition both appeared a bit too much for him as Manchester City left the Emirates Stadium with a 2-0 victory.
He has been in and out of the team since then but playing away at United would represent another major test for the Frenchman; but it is one he is now better equipped to pass.
United’s midfield do not operate at close to the same tempo as City’s, and Guendouzi can dominate against Jose Mourinho’s side, if he shows the composure that was lacking on debut.
Alongside Torreira, Arsenal should have too much in the middle to trouble United’s pedestrian engine room; which would see both Emery and Guendouzi pass another major test.