‘How so much can change in a year’ they say, but for Arsenal fans it’s becoming a saying they don’t appreciate anymore. 365 days ago Arsenal stood top of the Premier League and on the verge of runs in every domestic Cup they were involved in.
If the fans ever needed a New Years pick me up, a better occasion couldn’t be next than in the form of the FA Cup. A break from the League table and a game where the team know they only have one shot.
Nostalgia could play a part in this one, as the fixture marks a repeat of the final back in May, where I think we all know what happened!
So a number of changes to freshen up this 2015 hangover spell could prove to be the late Christmas present these Arsenal fans deserve.
Goalkeeper – David Ospina
Arsenal haven’t recorded a clean sheet in their last seven games, which is just about as much evidence as you need to prove that first choice keeper Wojech Szczesny is struggling. A change between the sticks will do both men a world of good, and a chance for Ospina to show why he deserves a change from the bench week in, week out.
Full Backs – Hector Bellerin’ and Kieran Gibbs
Bellerin hasn’t played in a while, and after Debuchy has recently started and finished in all three of our festive fixtures, it will be a welcome rest for the Frenchman. Bellerin’ has the quality, and can add serious pace down the right hand side. Gibbs missed the clash against Southampton, which shows us Wenger is ready to reinstate him into the starting eleven.
Centre Backs – Callum Chambers and Laurent Koscielny
Well where do we start with the middle of the defence, Per Mertesacker is probably the one player in our team who needs to be dropped at the moment. Too many below average performances means Chambers will drop back into centre back, accompanied by controlled defender, Koscielny.
Centre Defensive-Midfield – Matthieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky
After a two game rest, reliable Flamini will make his return to shape up the defence who have struggled with multiple transitions. We’ve tried three different defensive mdifield options in the last three fixtures, and all have failed to look competent. Flamini brings strength and experience, whilst Rosicky is the constructor to work the ball forward and will be the figure head for counter attacks.
Right Wing – Joel Campbell
Finally a chance for the Costa Rican winger to let his legs stretch, times have been tough for the winger this season and Gunners fans are beginning to grow concerned over the ability of Campbell. We’re well into January now so this could be the calling card for Campbell as to whether he heads out on loan, AGAIN! Let’s hope the winger can hit the ground running from the first whistle.
Centre Attacking Mid – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Resting Santi Cazorla could be a good thing this weekend, he hasn’t done anything wrong but the sheer quantity of minutes he’s racked up in such a short space of time. Chamberlain loves getting into this area, and he’ll be able to drive on through a Hull defence that have shown their collapse many times this season.
Left Wing – Alexis Sanchez
It could be Alexis, it could be Santi starting here, but the way Alexis works I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chilean start yet another game this season. Wenger will be concerned about this, but he needs another heavyweight midfielder in the top three to assure there is plenty of distribution to our lone striker.
Centre Forward – Chuba Akpom
Chuba came off the bench against Southampton in midweek, which shows us Wenger is ready to let the striker loose on his first Premier League start for the club. Chuba is hungry to show why he deserved his call up to the first team, and with both Welbeck and Giroud nursing slight injuries, the boss won’t be keen to risk either striker.
Possible Starting Eleven:
H. Bellerin’ C. Chambers L. Koscielny K. Gibbs
M. Flamini T. Rosicky (c)
J. Campbell A. Oxlade-Chamberlain A. Sanchez