With the injury limitations to our squad, selecting a playing XI continues to be an easy task, if not a very pleasurable one. For tomorrow’s game against Newcastle, the home advantage is about the only advantage we have; our defence and even our midfield is short of cover and very vulnerable. However, we must make do with what we’ve got, and this is my predicted lineup for tomorrow’s game.
First off, goalkeeper. Emiliano Martinez turned in a couple of strong performances when he was given some playing time but Wenger clearly prefers Wojciech Szczesny. The Pole will start between the sticks tomorrow and he will probably have a busy game.
In front of him, I expect a back four consisting of Gibbs, Mertesacker, Debuchy and Bellerin. With Monreal and Koscielny out injured and Calum Chambers suspended, these are about the only senior defenders we have left in the side.
Wenger also said in his press conference about how he did not want to play inexperienced defenders, so this probably means that Debuchy will shift into central defence alongside Mertesacker with Gibbs and Bellerin flanking them.
With Arteta, Wilshere and Ramsey all injured, Flamini has run out of partners to play alongside him in the deep midfield role. Wenger has decided to deal with this emergency by recalling Francis Coquelin from loan. The player, who was loaned out to Charlton Athletic for less than two months, was recalled with 24 hours’ notice. Why else would Wenger do that if not to play him tomorrow. Flamini and Coquelin to start, which means we will be quite defensively set up.
Up front, it is somewhat a dilemma. I personally believe that Podolski deserves a start in the Premier League. He is a beast of a player and has done more than enough to justify being given a chance. Even though it is highly unlikely, I’m just going to go balls deep and say that he will play, alongside Cazorla and Sanchez. The Spaniard and the Chilean have been our best players lately, and they should retain their starting berths.
This lineup means that the Ox will not start, but I believe Podolski should be picked ahead of him. The Ox will remain on the bench though, and has proven in the past to be a lethal substitute.
Flip of the coin here, but I am going for Giroud. Welbeck has an amazing workrate and adds pace to the side, but he is not clinical enough, and against a team like Newcastle we have to take our chances. Giroud is more physical and has an aerial presence, this will allow him to tussle for the ball with the Newcastle defenders, something none of our other attackers except maybe Podolski can do. Welbeck to remain on the bench.
Wenger however might also decide to play both, as he did against West Brom. This would mean that neither Podolski or the Ox get to start.
What do you think? Who would you like to see on the pitch tomorrow? Leave your opinions in the comments below!