Arsenal are getting ready to face Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night as they begin their Champions League adventure for another season.
Aaron Ramsey and Hector Bellerin have been left in London, Arsene Wenger has stressed they are not injured, just being rested. Jack Wilshere will miss the next three months with an ankle injury, whilst Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky remain long term absentees.
Predicted Line Up
Petr Cech is likely to keep his place in goal, but there is expected to be changes in the defence. Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs are likely to come in for Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. With Per Mertesacker still out, Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista are expected to continue in what is a blossoming central defensive partnership.
Francis Coquelin could be rested after playing nearly every game for the Gunners in 2015, with Mikel Arteta now fully fit and ready to start. His calming presence and Champions League experience may be favourable in the eleven. Santi Cazorla is almost certain to start, with Ramsey being left at home and Wilshere out injured. Wenger could possibly deploy Chamberlain in a central role, but I think this is unlikely.
Chamberlain could start on the right hand side of the midfield, after being left out of the line up on Saturday. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are expected to start as the Gunners cannot afford to rest too many top players, as it is essential that the game is won. Olivier Giroud is expected to lead the line, with his physicality important in such a clash.
Wenger needs to find the right balance when rotating his squad over the next few weeks. He needs to keep things fresh, but he also can’t afford to lose momentum by changing too much. At the same time, the squad players need to build up some match fitness incase they are needed due to an injury. Game time would be very useful for the likes of Debuchy, Gibbs, Arteta and Chamberlain and that’s why I expect the team to be as follows.
Predicted line up: Cech; Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Cazorla; Oxlade Ozil Alexis; Giroud