Arsene Wenger will need to make several changes to keep his squad fresh with the fixture list starting to look quite congested. Queens Park Rangers have won one of their last six matches but will certainly not be a walk in the park. It is a London derby after all, and they gave us a late scare at Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day when Charlie Austin netted a late penalty. The Gunners ran out 2-1 victors however and will be keen for an easier ride on Wednesday evening.
David Ospina has certainly earned his place between the sticks after a fantastic performance on Sunday in the 2-0 win over Everton, while the backline will remain relatively unchanged. Hector Bellerin seems nailed on for a start while Gabriel will hope to keep Per Mertesacker out of the lineup after a decent all round display alongside Laurent Koscielny. Nacho Monreal should come back in however, Kieran Gibbs is still not back in form despite Wenger’s insistence to keep playing him over the past two matches and appears to be playing with the handbrake on. Perhaps Monreal is suffering from a minor injury? Seems strange that he has been ostracized from the lineup for the past two matches considering he was well and truly first choice left back.
The big question mark remains over Francis Coquelin. A report from the Daily Mail suggests he will be fit and available despite breaking his nose on Sunday, with suggestions that he could wear a protective mask. The report also suggests Aaron Ramsey will be available for selection which is a huge boost and he will most likely slot in alongside Coquelin if the Frenchman’s fit.
The other alternative in the deeper midfield role is Mathieu Flamini, but such has been the importance of Coquelin, it is likely he will be played should he be available.
Further forward we should see Santi Cazorla pulling the strings as the No10 with Mesut Ozil pushed out wide once more. The latter has been performing well in his favoured central attacking midfield role, but the Spaniard is certainly our most in-form player at present. I struggle to see a place for Tomas Rosicky after a fantastic cameo at the weekend unfortunately.
Alexis Sanchez should make way on the right to have himself a well earned rest with the vital FA Cup trip to Manchester United on the horizon. We have options aplenty on the right with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott starting on the right. Probably the latter who was unplayed at the weekend.
Olivier Giroud should also earn a rest after a challenging few weeks for the Frenchman. He’s come out back on top however after a superb showing against the Toffees and is replaced by Danny Welbeck in our lineup. With the likes of Alexis and Giroud on the bench there will be options aplenty on the pitch but allow some of our key stars a breather.
Here is our predicted lineup:
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