Arsene Wenger has a number of tough calls to make for Monday nights clash with Manchester United in the FA Cup, a number of midfielders and attackers are fit and eager for selection but the Frenchman must find the right balance.
The Gunners boss revealed Wojiech Szczesny will start if he recovers from the illness that kept him from the bench in midweek, and he seemingly has after being pictured in training today. David Ospina may still be No1 at present but Wenger is keen to utilize his squad for Cup matches.
In defence Hector Bellerin seems a certainty at right-back with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the backline. Gabriel will be missing for the next few games after the compulsory Arsenal hamstring injury so we need Mertscielny to rediscover their form together and become the solid unit they’ve been in the past.
Kieran Gibbs gets the nod from us especially with a doubt over Nacho Monreal who has missed the last couple games due to a back problem – something which seems to be a reoccurring issue for the Spaniard. He did also train today but Wenger may look to keep a relatively consistent backline with Gibbs playing three on the trot and managed two assists against QPR.
Francis Coquelin starts in midfield with his theatre-esk mask protecting his massacred nose and is partnered with a fit again Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman is a work horse and we need a calm, precise performance from him on Monday night. It’s time for him to rediscover his form from last season – I’m not talking about the goals but his work ethic and the defensive solidity he used to bring to our midfield. Leave all the fancy stuff to the players ahead of him.
I’ve gone for Santi Cazorla ahead in the No10 role not just because of his attacking prowess but, like Ramsey, is more likely to track back than other midfield options and is a more dynamic player. Cazorla will have an important role to play in helping us retain possession. Not so sure we can afford to concede the ball so easily as we have often done in big matches, we weren’t punished at Man City because they weren’t clinical that day but players such as Wayne Rooney, Di Maria and Ashley Young (lol) will be.
Wenger could of course stick with the Santi-Ozil axis in midfield again but I think that was more of a stop-gap option with hardly any box-to-box midfielders available. Think Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil on the wings can work well with Olivier Giroud spearheading the attack.
That leaves an exciting bench of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott as viable options who can all do damage.
Here is the predicted lineup:
What are your thoughts Gooners? Share them below..