Arsenal host Luis van Gaal’s Manchester United this weekend and it’s a big opportunity to finally get one over the 2012/13 Champions in the post-Fergie era after drawing on both occasions last year.
The latest team news provided one particular valuable boost – the return of Mikel Arteta. His injury against Anderlecht was certainly a factor in how we threw away the game, he adds composure and intelligence in an area we needed it the most.
Olivier Giroud is also likely to be included in the squad after returning ahead of schedule (can you believe it?) but is almost certain not to start. A welcomed boost however.
More importantly Laurent Koscielny will not be available meaning our defence is likely to be the same as it has been recently. There’s been a call for Hector Bellerin to come in for Calum Chambers on the right and switch the Englishman for Nacho Monreal at centre half. It’s a nice idea in theory as Chambers has adapted well at centre half, but realistically Bellerin is very inexperienced and will be up against the likes of Angel Di Maria, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie – quite a hefty pack of attacking talent. Chambers needs more support however (more on that in a later article..)
In midfield Mikel Arteta will hopefully return if Arsene Wenger is convinced of his fitness. The Frenchman could go for a double pivot of Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, something that has been a safe option in the past, but hopefully Jack Wilshere will be deployed alongside our captain. With his brilliant performances for England, maybe he can translate some of that defensive discipline into his game at Arsenal.
Choosing Wilshere means dropping Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman has not been brilliant since returning from injury, based on form Wilshere seems the obvious choice. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be involved however. A solid option from the bench.
Further forward we will most likely see Santi Cazorla on the left despite his recent lackluster performances. Wenger appears reluctant to utilize anyone else out wide. While the Spaniard’s shooting boots are on hiatus, he is still managing to create chances. On the other wing, Theo Walcott failed to feature for England and is unlikely to start for the Gunners especially with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in hot form.
Alexis Sanchez will slot in behind Danny Welbeck up front and the Chilean will hope to continue his scoring streak and be the forward Arsenal have missed in recent seasons – someone who can score in the ‘big’ games.
Here is the predicted lineup:
Who makes it into your lineup? Share your thoughts below…