Arsenal will be looking for revenge against Liverpool after a disastrous 5-1 defeat last weekend, but how much can Wenger afford to rotate?
The FA Cup is the Gunners most likely shot at silverware this season, however they host Bayern Munich three days later in the UCL, while they gave a lot against United on Wednesday night. There are plenty of fresh first team players to choose from.
Let’s start from the back. Lukasz Fabianksi, who has declared he will leave the club this summer, could be set to start between the sticks. However he’s hardly a downgrade on Szczesny. That said, Wenger could be tempted to stick with his number one with Fabianski not committing to the club. Personally I’d rather Szczesny after his recent hot form, we cannot afford any blips so if ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Thomas Vermaelen would have been a sure starter, but the Belgian international is currently sidelined so Mertesacker and Koscielny are almost certain to start. Sagna could be afforded a rest, especially with Jenkinson a very good attacking outlet, but if we learnt anything from the Anfield tie, we cannot afford to get caught out on the counter. So the more experienced defender will probably get the nod. Kieran Gibbs’ return to the lineup was successful and he looks set to start again on the left. Monreal struggled against the pace of Liverpool on Saturday.
In midfield, Wenger can thankfully welcome back Mathieu Flamini. He should slot in alongside The Ox or Wilshere. Hopefully Wenger doesn’t opt for a double pivot with Flamini and Arteta, it’s not worked since the Napoli match.
Mesut Ozil has played a number of games recently and hasn’t looked his best. He gave a more encouraging performance on Wednesday however he should be afforded a rest and allow Cazorla to operate in central midfield with Lukas Podolski and either the Ox or Gnabry on the wings. Hardly a step down with the Spaniard Arsenal’s most lethal looking outlet at present, and a good way to freshen up the midfield.
Rosicky could also slot in place of Ozil which is a possibility especially with Wenger really not showing any trust in Podolski any more. The German deserves a start and can be a handy player on his day.
Up front it’s certainly time for a shake up. Nicklas Bendtner has proven he can hold the ball up well, but he also has more pace than Giroud. The Frenchman needs a rest and The Dane should be given another chance. He’s decent in the air and is a good poacher.
Here is a possible lineup & our preferred lineup:
Sagna Merts Kosc Gibbs
Sagna Merts Kosc Gibbs
What are your thoughts and ideas? Comment below..
UPDATE: Cazorla is ill so will be unavailable.