Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that Granit Xhaka will not be in the squad to face Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon (November 2).

Xhaka’s clash with sections of the crowd in the 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace last weekend has dominated the build up to this fixture.

And Emery confirmed at his press conference on Friday afternoon that the Arsenal skipper will play no part in the game.

The Gunners are in desperate need of a victory to relieve some of the pressure on the head coach after earning just one point out of a possible six from the Sheffield United and Palace games.

It has seen Arsenal slip behind the early pace set in the race for the top four and this feels like a crucial moment in the season for Emery, whose side have won just two of their last eight league games.

READ MORE: Granit Xhaka speaks after clash with Arsenal fans – now it’s time to move on

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A thrilling Carabao Cup game at Anfield on Wednesday night (October 30) in which Arsenal led twice ultimately ended in disappointment and somewhat epitomised the start to the season.

Leading by two goals twice in the game, Arsenal continued their knack of somehow throwing games away on the cusp of a seemingly comfortable victory.

Being dumped out of the League Cup is by no means a disaster but the manner of the 5-5 draw and eventual exit on penalties raises yet more questions than it answers.

Wolves arrive in north London off the back of derby defeat to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup in midweek, although they fielded a youthful side in the 2-1 loss.

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Nuno Espirito Santo’s team are unbeaten in their last five league fixtures, including a stunning 2-0 win away at Man City on October 6.

They rescued a point in both of their last two games, coming from behind against Newcastle and Southampton to draw each of those 1- 1.

Arsenal snatched a late draw in this fixture last season thanks to a goal by Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

READ MORE: Gabriel Martinelli is breaking records at Arsenal – and it’s really exciting

Team news

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Granit Xhaka will not be in the squad but Mesut Ozil could be in line for a first Premier League start since the 2-2 draw against Watford at Vicarage Road on September 15.

Reiss Nelson will miss the game with an ongoing knee injury, while Sead Kolasinac, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all appeared to leave Anfield with knocks on Wednesday night.

Willy Boly is out for the visitors after undergoing surgery on a broken shin bone.

Meanwhile, Ryan Bennett and Morgan Gibbs-White are also doubts for Wolves.

Prediction

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Key player: Mesut Ozil – The German returned to the side in midweek and was influential. Many were disappointed to see Ozil taken off in the second half against Liverpool but hopefully that was an indication he will be involved on Saturday.

He could prove to be crucial at unlocking a Wolves rearguard which is sure to sit back and defend in numbers and try to hit Arsenal on the break.

Arsenal’s last five Premier League games: W/D/W/L/D

Wolves’ last five Premier League games: D/W/W/D/D

Score prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Wolves – It’s a tough one to call given Arsenal’s inconsistency and upheaval following the Xhaka incident last weekend.

Any result is conceivable, especially after Wolves’ exploits at Man City four weeks ago, which shows they’re more than capable of winning this game.

But let’s hope the Gunners can pull it together and grind out the win in what is certain to be a very tough afternoon against difficult opposition.


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