The Gunners have a fantastic opportunity to respond to their catastrophic 3-1 loss to Monaco with a home tie against Everton. Roberto Martinez’s side may be struggling for consistency this season, but Arsenal share a similar trait at present.
Let’s start between the sticks. David Ospina did not cover himself in glory on Wednesday night and he should have done better for two of the three goals not to mention the suspect distribution. People forget Wojciech put in a man of the match performance against West Ham United before the Southampton debacle and last season tied for the Golden Glove. It’s time for Szczesny to have another crack.
Arsene Wenger also needs to look no further than his backline for immediate changes. Starting with Kieran Gibbs making way for Nacho Monreal. The Englishman failed to track back and left us far too exposed against Monaco. The more reserved Spaniard is a safer option and with Wenger favoring Hector Bellerin on the right, we need a little more balance at the back. It was certainly a suprise selection from Wenger to chose two attacking fullbacks.
Per Mertesacker was very poor on Wednesday and should really be dropped. Is Gabriel ready for his first League start? I’m still a little unsure, Laurent Koscielny is known for not being a particularly strong talker, couple that with Gabriel’s lack of English and perhaps we will miss Mertesacker’s commanding presence. For that reason I wouldn’t be suprised if the BFG retains his place, but purely for shaking it up and trying to cause a reaction, Gabriel gets the nod from us.
Francis Coquelin is our only option in defensive midfield still, while a return for Jack Wilshere is unfortunately not on the cards due to minor surgery. Santi Cazorla will most likely get the nod in the box to box role with Mesut Ozil as the most advanced of the central trio. Tomas Rosicky or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are other more combative alternatives especially with Everton’s physical midfield and their ability to break on the counter likely to cause us some trouble. Wenger will likely stick with the Santi-Ozil combo once more however considering it has proved successful prior to the midweek loss, especially with the Ox clearly not sharp enough yet on the ball after giving possession away multiple times during his brief cameo. This match could’ve been perfect for a Arteta-Coquelin combo, but the former Toffee is still some weeks off of a return.
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Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez are our picks on the wings with Olivier Giroud spearheading the attack. We’ve seen what damage Theo can do on his day, the Englishman keeps defensive lines deeper than usual with his electric pace and hopefully he can start to re-establish himself in Wenger’s first XI with a promising performance on Sunday.
Giroud similarly needs to rediscover his spark after a truly terrible and wasteful outing against Monaco where he missed some absolute sitters.
Here is our predicted lineup:
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