Arsene Wenger has a few tricky decisions to make ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Aston Villa with a number of key battles emerging for starting positions which only bodes well for the competitiveness of the squad. We welcome new signing Gabriel Paulista to the squad, but he is very unlikely to start.
Let’s start between the sticks. Wojciech Szczesny played against Brighton last weekend and although he was not particularly at fault for the two goals conceded David Ospina’s record is hard to be ignored and the Colombian deserves another start.
Hector Bellerin and Calum Chambers are vying for the right back role. The former was excellent against Manchester City while Chambers had a reasonably good outing last weekend. The 19-year-olds both offer plenty going forward but the latter is a little more assured defensively. If Wenger opts for the slightly more reserved Nacho Monreal on the left then Bellerin is a likely candidate on the right.
Speaking of Nacho, he’s been excellent and warrants another start despite the return of Kieran Gibbs. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will play centrally and hopefully provide us with plenty of stability at the back.
Francis Coquelin will return to the lineup and hopefully cement his starting spot ahead of Mathieu Flamini if the Frenchman can continue his fine form. He’s certainly been a revelation since returning from his loan spell with Charlton Athletic.
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Further forward it gets tricky again. Tomas Rosicky has been superb but it’s difficult to see him starting. Aaron Ramsey needs minutes to gain some momentum of his own and is the likely candidate to slip in alongside Coquelin. Santi Cazorla is then the obvious choice at No10 after some mesmerizing performances.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is unfortunately struggling with an injury and will be replaced by Theo Walcott in the lineup. The Englishman got back to scoring ways last weekend and will hope to terrorize the Villa back line with his freakish pace. We could of course see Rosicky on the right, but we need at least one quick outlet in the side with Mesut Ozil likely to start on the left. Alexis Sanchez should certainly be rested as his hamstring remains a concern.
Olivier Giroud will spearhead the attack especially with Danny Welbeck still out of the side.
Here is the predicted lineup:
Do you have other ideas Gooners? Share your thoughts below..