Arsenal could be set to make some changes against West Ham after yet another underwhelming performance against Manchester City. It could have been worse, as the Gunners came away from the game with a point, but it also could’ve been a lot better, as Arsenal really needed all three points to stay in contention for the top 4.
A win is an absolute must when the Gunners host West Ham on Wednesday night. The Hammers are in a bad place at the moment, but Arsenal’s nemesis Andy Carroll could cause problems for an Arsenal side that will be vulnerable in the absence of Petr Cech, David Ospina and Laurent Koscielny.
Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez
It will be a big test for Argentinean keeper Martinez on Wednesday, with both Cech and Ospina out injured. Martinez has proven to be a good goalkeeper when called upon in recent years, but he only has a handful of Premier League appearances, it will be interesting to see how he fairs in this one.
Defender: Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel Paulista, Nacho Monreal
Arsenal have a problem in defence without Koscielny, and we’ve seen how badly it can go without him. Personally I would like to see Rob Holding partner Mustafi, but I’m aware that Wenger currently ranks Gabriel as the better defender, so he will be the one alongside the German. I do worry about the positioning of both the centre half’s, but West Ham are unlikely to play with must pace and movement up front, so hopefully Arsenal have the players to deal with it.
Midfield: Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny; Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez
At the base of midfield I would like to see a partnership that has rarely been played together so far: Elneny and Xhaka. I think the two would bring out the best in each other, with the strengths of Elneny complimenting the weaknesses of Xhaka and vice versa. Arsenal need someone like Xhaka in the midfield to dictate games in Cazorla’s absence, but they also need energy and pace alongside him – Elneny can offer this. Walcott is in a decent run of form at the moment and as one of the senior plays, need to play and perform each game from now until the end of the season.
Walcott is in a decent run of form at the moment and as one of the senior plays, need to play and perform each game from now until the end of the season. Ozil and Alexis are Arsenal’s key players and must feature in the XI again as both of them look to regain their best form.
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey are both coming back from knocks, so it doesn’t make sense to risk them, but they can do a job from the bench.
Attack: Olivier Giroud
I think Arsenal may be wise to go with Giroud for this game, as they look to combat the physical threat of West Ham. Giroud can help with defending set pieces too. His goal to game ratio is pretty good when he is selected, but he has fallen out of favour recently. Welbeck has been leading the line but Wenger must be careful not to play Danny too frequently with his past injuries in mind.
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