Believe it or not, Arsenal still have something to play for in this forgettable Premier League campaign, and momentum will be key.
Having played an intensive game against Jose Mourinho’s United on Sunday, Wenger is bound to rotate his squad ahead of the trip to Southampton.
Along with a visit to Stoke City on Saturday evening, the games are coming thick and fast for Arsenal at the moment and having the right mix of players is vital.
Despite some early concerns after the 2-0 win last weekend over Granit Xhaka and Laurent Koscielny’s fitness, both joined in full training on Tuesday.
Here’s how I think the boys should line up tonight:
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
For all of the doubts that have been cast over the Premier League veteran this season, recent form has showed Cech is still capable of playing at the top. He’s conceded four goals in his last five games, with two clean sheets against United and Leicester to keep his confidence high.
Center-Backs: Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal
If it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it. These three have been phenomenal when playing the back three system, and I don’t see any reason to change things around. This will of course depend on whether Koscielny is fit enough to start, but if not I’d like to see how Shkodran Mustafi featured in this new formation.
Wing-Backs: Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
We haven’t seen much of Bellerin recently and that’s purely down to how well The Ox is doing to keep him out of the side. However, I only see that as a good thing and with Gibbs’ shaky attacking performances lately, I’d love to see how these two got on with working out on the flanks. Bellerin on the right has the pace to keep up with the game, whilst The Ox has an ability to cut in and shoot against his former side.
Central Midfield: Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny
Again, if Xhaka is fit then get him straight into this side because he’s orchestrated our midfield over the last few weeks. His long ball distribution is helping to break down defences and against a Saints side that will attack, he’s just the type of player to hold up a defensive line. Elneny has fresh legs and his great at running the motions – these two have a great relationship on the pitch and it’s time to see it again!
Attacking Midfield: Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil
Yep, I’m dropping Alexis. He hasn’t shown me anything in recent games that says he should be starting, whereas these two were great against United. Ramsey admitted that this new position gave him more freedom on the ball, and knowing he’ll make mistakes and the Saints will counter, I’m more confident with having Elneny and Xhaka to do the tracking back.
Centre Forward: Danny Welbeck
I know he played a long spell of the game last Sunday but his match-winning goal will have given him the world of confidence going into this. Olivier Giroud will be well suited to the weekend game against Stoke so I’d give Welbeck a rest then. Having bagged two on his last visit to St. Mary’s, Welbz should be buzzing for tonight!