Arsenal’s defensive woes show no signs of slowing down with Kieran Gibbs the latest casualty to an already depleted back line. But the issue has been further up the pitch, a lack of cohesion resulting in a faltering attack.
Alexis Sanchez has been sublime however and has papered over the cracks offensively. With Theo Walcott looking like he may be involved for the first time in over nine months, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
There are limited options at the back to say the least. Laurent Koscielny’s absence is a real concern and he certainly won’t be rushed back this weekend. Nacho Monreal has filled in relatively well in the centre of defence but in the wake of Gibbs’ injury uncertainty the Spaniard could shift to the left, moving Calum Chambers centrally and Hector Bellerin onto the right. Wenger remains confident of Gibbs’ return to fitness however and this means an identical back line that faced Sunderland
In the centre of midfield there are plenty of options. Wenger went for a more conservative pairing of Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta last weekend against Sunderland, but with Aaron Ramsey fresh and available it is likely Wenger will go with the Welsh maestro in midfield alongside the captain Arteta. Jack Wilshere’s injury is a blow, but luckily we have the personnel to make do.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has struggled in the last couple of games which is a real shame as it has been his chance to shine in the absence of Walcott. The Englishman seemed to lack a little confidence and missed that spark that has often defined his play. It wouldn’t come as any surprise if we see him on the bench tomorrow had Wilshere been fit, but there’s certainly a big chance he will start once more. Santi Cazorla will be almost certainly be involved from the get-go also despite a obvious drop in form. It’s a shame Tomas Rosicky doesn’t get a shot, think he can bring something extra to the No10 role that we’ve been missing. A bit more dynamism and balls.
Danny Welbeck is our only realistic option up front, Sanchez is another but Wenger seems dead set on continuing to utilize him out wide or in behind the striker. Welbeck has adjusted well to Arsenal life and his link up play is developing nicely.
Here is our predicted lineup, if Gibbs isn’t fit we will see the defence shuffle along and Bellerin come onto the right:
Chambers Mertesacker Monreal Gibbs
Alexis Cazorla Ox
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