Arsenal can keep the pressure on Chelsea for the final Champions League spot when they make the trip to the South Coast to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day.
The Gunners returned to winning ways in their most-recent league game against Burnley at the Emirates but their defensive performance was not entirely convincing as they eventually sealed a 3-1 triumph.
Bernd Leno has been the Gunners’ outright choice for the goalkeeping duties since October and he should reclaim his position for the Seagulls clash.
In the defence, however, at least one change is expected from the previous game with Nacho Monreal on the sidelines with a knock which should keep him out of the Brighton trip.
In this case, Unai Emery is likely to resort to a three-man backline amid the injury crisis and this may witness Stephan Lichtsteiner, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis feature at the heart of the defence once more with Laurent Koscielny still short of match fitness.
Meanwhile, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac should once more feature in the right and left wing-back positions with no genuine competition behind them amid injuries.
Mohamed Elneny and Mateo Guendouzi could feature in the centre of the park ahead of Lucas Torreira, who is just one yellow card away from a one-match domestic ban which could put him at risk of missing the Liverpool game to end the year.
Further forward, Mesut Ozil should reclaim his starting role after playing a key role in two of the Gunners’ goal last weekend and we are anticipating him to be partnered alongside Aaron Ramsey, who has not featured in the league since picking up a hamstring problem at Manchester United.
Upfront, Alexandre Lacazette could lead the line on his own ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who may require a breather with an intense game against the Reds to follow.