For the first time in an age Arsene Wenger has options to choose from when picking his starting lineup. With a wealth of attacking talent in the current side, we are in a position where we can’t fit everyone in; a fantastic situation to be in.
With Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil recently returning from injury, it’s becoming difficult to decide who deserves a starting spot. The Mirror have had their say, but have any of them matched Wenger’s philosophy?
When everyone is fully fit and firing, we have an absolutely superb squad. Here is what I believe to be our best starting XI:
GK) Wojciech Szczesny
The Pole has been unreliable recently, and has deservedly been dropped for David Ospina. Despite our excellent defensive record however, the Colombian hasn’t done enough to convince me he should be our undisputed No.1.
I feel he his in the side due to Szczesny’s poor form rather than his own merit, and still needs to show something more to persuade me otherwise.
RB) Mathieu Debuchy
The Frenchman’s injuries have been devastating for our title hopes this season, and the dislocated shoulder he suffered against Stoke City has really hit us hard.
Hector Bellerin has been promising in his few appearances, while Calum Chambers has filled in adequately. Debuchy is hands down the only option for first-choice right-back though, and should slot straight back into the side when he returns.
CB) Laurent Koscielny
The agile centre-back is another player whose injuries have proved costly this campaign, and we have looked so much more solid when he is in the side.
He is unquestionably our best defender on his day, and is one of the first names on my team sheet.
CB) Per Mertesacker
The giant German has been one of the few ever-presents this season, and has been largely solid at the back.
He certainly has a number of huge weaknesses, but unless Gabriel Paulista arrives and proves otherwise he is still our best option alongside Koscielny.
LB) Kieran Gibbs
Nacho Monreal has shown glimpses of quality at left-back this season, but never really looks like usurping Kieran Gibbs.
The Englishman is one of our most reliable defenders on the rare occasions when he is fit, and contributes well in both attack and defence.
DM) Francis Coquelin
The 23-year-old has been a revelation since being recalled from loan at the end of 2014, and has revolutionised our midfield when utilised. His top quality performances have highlighted just how poor Mathieu Flamini has been, and with club captain Mikel Arteta getting on in years Coquelin could be the answer to our midfield malady.
CM) Jack Wilshere
Arguably the toughest decision, as it’s difficult to leave out Aaron Ramsey in midfield. He has been unable to replicate last season’s form however, and has struggled for large parts of the new campaign.
Wilshere has looked excellent when injury free, but really needs to replicate his England form for Arsenal.
Both players could easily be switch around depending on our opponents, but the 23-year-old narrowly gets the nod from me.
CAM) Santi Cazorla
The Spaniard is in something of a purple patch at the moment, and has been absolutely phenomenal in his last few games; the 2-0 win over Manchester City was particularly impressive.
Mesut Özil is unlikely to displace him any time soon, although we could see more regular rotation from Wenger.
It’s highly possible the Frenchman will sacrifice one of our wingers to crowbar both players into the side, but with Alexis Sanchez and Walcott both fit it could prove tricky.
RAM) Theo Walcott
Having been out for the best part of a year we have no idea if Walcott is even the same player he was, but if he can regain the form he showed before his injury then he has to be in the side.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been excellent this season, but his end product is still lacking somewhat. Walcott’s finishing on the other hand, has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. He was becoming a vital part of the Arsenal setup before his injury, and will be looking to do so once again.
LAM) Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean has been unplayable at times since joining the club from Barcelona this past summer, and would walk into any team in the world at the moment.
It would be criminal to leave him out of the lineup, so he takes his place on the left flank.
ST) Olivier Giroud
Our handsome Frenchman splits opinion at the Emirates, and gets a lot of criticism for his performances. His influence on the game becomes clearly visible when he is missing however, and I don’t think we have a better option available at the moment.
David Ospina, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey
The fact that in this team the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, and Hector Bellerin don’t even make the bench, just goes to show how much strength in depth we have at the moment.
Who do you think should start when everyone is fit Gooners?