Arsenal return to Premier League action this weekend as they prepare to welcome league leaders, Chelsea, to the Emirates in a top of the table clash.
Although it seems the title race is all but over, both teams have a point to prove to one another in a tie that’s seen several bitter clashes over the years.
The Gunners come into this one on the back of eight consecutive league victories, having recently booked a spot in the FA Cup final. Chelsea on the other hand can secure the title with wins at the Emirates and Leicester City next weekend.
But Fresh Arsenal are putting the two sides together to check out who makes the cut in a combined starting eleven. We’ve taken a look at all of the statistics, current form standings and of course, the abilities each player possesses.
Goalkeeper: Thiabiut Courtois
There won’t be much of an argument in this case when it comes to choosing who fills the gap between the sticks. The talents of the Belgian keeper first came to light at Atletico Madrid, and since returning from his loan move he’s barely put a foot wrong.
Right-Back: Branislav Ivanovic
He’s been one of the most consistent defenders in his respective position for the last five years, and when it comes to balancing defence and attack, Ivanovic gets the nod. Debuchy hasn’t done enough to convince me yet, but if Bellerin strengthened up his defensive work then he’d be in with a shout of getting the nod.
Centre Back: John Terry
Possibly the most established defender in the league at present, the former England captain has featured in every Premier League game this season. With Terry in the starting eleven, Chelsea have conceded only 26 goals in 32 games.
Centre Back: Laurent Koscielny
He had a difficult start to his Arsenal career but Koscielny is now in with a shout of making a Premier League starting eleven. The Frenchman adds pace, understanding and most of all, commitment, which means you’ll get a defensive partnership who can go forward and back with confidence.
Left-Back: Kieran Gibbs
A controversial position to fill seeing as Gibbs has been outclassed by Monreal this season, but overall the full-back is an all-round defender. Cesar Azpillicueta is an exciting prospect and already making the headlines, but for now I’m giving the shout to Gibbo.
Centre Defensive-Midfield: Francis Coquelin
Opta recently released their statistics comparing Coquelin and Nemanja Matic, and the Frenchman outclassed the Chelsea man in every respective field. Coquelin knows his job, and avoids getting sucked in to the attack, allowing the front three to be more care-free when it comes to working it around the box.
Centre Defensive-Midfield: Cesc Fabregas
Let’s be honest here, Fabregas simply has to get a call-up into this team. He’s dropped slightly off the pace in recent fixtures, but ultimately the Spaniard has 16 assists in the 28 league appearances he’s made. Working next to the Coq with a pass success rate of 85.6% for the season means he’d be free to push on, much like the work of Matic and Ramsey this year.
Right-Wing: Eden Hazard
The Belgian winger has recently been put up for this years PFA Player of the Year award, which means we’d be stupid to not include him. Hazard boasts an impressive 18 goals and 10 assists since the season began, and his versatility means he can feature in any of the front three positions.
Centre Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil
If you had asked me 3 months ago who would get the nod in this team then Ozil would be way off the pace. But after returning from his long-term injury, Wenger has positioned him in the favoured centre attacking role, and the German has repaid that faith by providing 10 assists since early January.
Left-Wing: Alexis Sanchez
Our second nominee for the PFA Player of the Year award, and realistically you could throw the Chilean into any Premier League team and he’d make a difference. Since arriving at the Gunners last summer, Alexis has 22 goals in all competitions and has ultimately revived the season for Arsene Wenger, most recently providing a brace to launch Arsenal into an FA Cup final date.
Striker: Diego Costa
Not one for the Arsenal supporters to be a fan of, but you can’t deny the talent Costa has provided Chelsea this season. He won’t be troubling the boys this weekend as he recovers from a slight injury, but the striker is just one goal away from the title of top goalscorer in the league. His hunger and desire to win is what sets him aside from Olivier Giroud, and if either player was coming off the bench to win you the game, you know who you’d put your money on.