Knowing Arsene Wenger will make his decision after the FA Cup final, some Arsenal fans just want this game over and done with!
However, Saturday afternoon provides the Gunners with the very real prospect of achieving a third trophy in the space of four years.
I agree that there are changes that need to be made and it’s time for Wenger to go, but in the meantime these players have to give 110% in honour of their boss.
Let’s be honest, Chelsea are favourites and we haven’t got our main men in defence, so in no way am I going to be popping the champagne early!
However, each of the players selected in my starting line-up are good enough to be a part of this club next season, so Arsenal must pick up from where they left off in their recent Premier League form.
Here’s how I think the Gunners need to line up, sticking with that new 3-4-2-1 formation that’s seen us concede just four goals from open play in nine games.
Goalkeeper: David Ospina
It’s difficult but following that last-minute injury to Cech, who else are we really going to throw into the middle of the sticks. Ospina has been average when needed but hasn’t faced a test like this all season and quite honestly, he doesn’t fill me with confidence. He’s off in the summer so here’s hoping he treats this game as an audition for some of the top clubs that may come after him.
Defence: Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal
Given the mini defensive crisis we’ve had to deal with, it’s not surprising that Wenger will be forced to implement a makeshift defence. Holding has won each of his last ten starts with the Gunners, whilst the BFG has enough experience to keep his weary legs going on that huge Wembley pitch. I prefer Monreal as a wing-back but as he gets older, he should become more familiar with his surroundings in this role. He got the equaliser in the semi-final, so he’ll be confident on Saturday.
Wing-Backs: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs
Possibly the most important decision of them all for Wenger, but he must stick with the players that have the most experience playing in this new position. Before his injury, The Ox was bloody fantastic out on the flanks and will cause plenty of problems through his pace and sharp eye for a cross into the box. Gibbs has also recovered from a thigh strain and will inject some pace on the wing to keep up with the likes of Pedro and Victor Moses.
Central Midfield: Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka
I think we’ve finally found our partnership in the middle of the park! With Xhaka’s long-ball distribution complemented by Ramsey’s ability to run through the channels, these two will have an important role on the weekend. However, they’ve been playing against teams that have only really defended for 90 minutes so the true test will come when trying to hold off Chelsea’s overwhelming attacking presence.
Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez
Question marks will be raised as to whether or not this is their final game for the Gunners, but whilst they’re out on that pitch I expect 110%. Ozil hasn’t received the credit he deserves recently because it’s Alexis who’s been banging all of the goals home. Watch out for how these two work together because playing against a back three can open up so many gaps. Anything with a chance on goal, you know Alexis is gonna have a go because he loves scoring at Wembley!
Centre Forward: Danny Welbeck
Still not the perfect player for this game but when it comes to him or Giroud, an energetic Welbeck is the man for the job. The striker has got a lot to prove having been left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad announcement. Last week he could’ve bagged four or five goals so his finishing needs some work, but all in all he’ll help to tire out the Chelsea defence on what will be a scorching hot day!
My Arsenal XI (3-4-2-1): Cech, Holding, Mertesacker (C), Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs, Alexis, Ozil, Welbeck