Arsene Wenger has an abundance of central midfielders available with Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini returning to training on Friday, but still no new fit wingers.
The main debate remains over the defensive-minded midfield roles, should Flamini return? And if so at the expense of who – Arteta or Ramsey? The Frenchman has been an instrumental figure this season and should certainly be given the nod if fully fit but it is unlikely Arteta will be dropped, especially after two fantastic displays in the deep laying role.
Wenger loves Arteta, the Spaniard is an automatic selection these days and unfortunately that probably means Ramsey will be shifted out on the right wing again despite scoring in consecutive games in the box-to-box role.
Cazorla seems nailed on for starting spot out wide, while Rosicky will feel hard done by to not be included. The Czech put in a magnificent performance in midweek against Dortmund, tackling hard and working his a** off. But we will see him from the bench should Ramsey occupy the right wing.
Gibbs’ return in midweek proved useful, utilizing his speed on the left and he will be hoping to keep RvP and Rooney etc at bay as the Gunners look for a third consecutive clean sheet. Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna and Szczesny are all looking solid at present which bodes well for Arsenal’s chances.
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As you can see there is little space for Wilshere to start, especially with the Englishman returning from a short injury layoff, but he provides more depth on the bench.
For me, Flamini is an automatic selection when fit. He adds steel, grit, plenty of communication and experience to our midfield. I’d prefer him to be partnered with a more attacking minded player such as Ramsey, but now that Arteta is back in form we will see a more resilient and effective partnership. With the Gunners set to face RvP and Rooney, a more defensive minded midfield won’t be a bad idea.
Sagna Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs
Arteta (c) Flamini
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