The Gunners travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon in a fixture which brings up some old rivalries with Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace.
Marouane Chamakh is expected to start against his former club, but Arsenal loanee, Yaya Sanogo will not be qualified to feature. The shaky past that Wenger and Pardew share is just another touch of spice in this fixture, and will ensure it won’t be an easy one to win.
Arsenal are looking to capitalise on their recent victories over Leicester and Middlesbrough, as they try to build up some momentum in preparation for the return of their Champions League run.
With there being a decent amount of space between now and next Wednesday when we look to take on Monaco, Arsene Wenger can afford to play a strong starting 11 against a team that are ready to take on anyone at the moment.
GK – David Ospina
There is no hesitation in the choice I want between the sticks, following the performance of Wojech Szczesny last week against Middlesbrough. The Pole still hasn’t learnt his lesson, and his cocky attitude resulted in him trying to take on complex passes and play with the strikers minds. What Ospina offers is assurance, he is confident in the air and will need that confidence leading into midweek.
RB – Calum Chambers
The right-back looked good on Sunday, and I feel he deserves to start against Palace, resulting in Bellerin losing his place. A tight crowd at Selhurst Park creates an intimidating atmosphere, and I feel Bellerin has lost his head in big games like that. Chambers offers something more with his strength, and with the depth in defence now, Wenger can afford to play him.
CB – Gabriel
This was the hardest bit to decide, which is ironic when talking about an Arsenal defence. Gabriel looked confident and settled against Middlesbrough and I would like to see that again on Saturday afternoon. Wenger needs to make a point to Mertesacker that Gabriel is not just a stand-in player.
CB – Laurent Koscielny
Looked good against the Boro’ and will be the man to stop the likes of Dwight Gayle from taking on one of his long shots, the Frenchman won’t mind jumping in to save our goal.
LB – Kieran Gibbs
I love Gibbs and his assist last Sunday is just more proof of why he has a better game than Monreal. His approach play is brilliant and I think Wenger will like to choose Monreal over Gibbs on Wednesday night due to him being better at sitting back.
CDM – Francis Coquelin
He’s had a rest since Leicester and now he’s raring to go. I’m not sure there’s too many Arsenal fans out there that would disagree with the decision to let the Frenchman loose on Saturday afternoon.
CDM – Tomas Rosicky
In recent performances Arsenal have struggled to hold the ball up and dominate play, we saw it against Leicester and Tottenham, but Rosicky is the man to change all that. He hasn’t had a start in a while and I don’t think he’ll start on Wednesday, so now is the perfect time to get him in to settle this Arsenal side.
LW – Mesut Ozil
Our best player for the last two games, Mesut Ozil is finding the receipt on that £42million purchase and shoving it down the pundits throats. Yes, he will start out on the left but knowing him he’ll be all over the field, with inter-play between him and Santi, something good has to come of it.
CAM – Santi Cazorla
So far he’s my player of 2015 and I just love to watch the little Spaniard play football. His ability in the middle of the park is keeping out the likes of Ozil and Alexis from starting there, which you can’t really argue with.
RW – Theo Walcott
On the bench against Middlesbrough last week, Theo will be raring to start this one. The ability to rest Alexis is one that I would take, as I believe he can feature in a better role on Wednesday. Theo needs to add something to his game and that’s his finishing. Against this defence he won’t be short of chances, with both Santi and Ozil feeding him in.
ST – Olivier Giroud
Why ruin a good thing when you’ve got it. Giroud can’t stop scoring at the moment and love him or hate him, he’s the man we need up top at the minute. We have Danny Welbeck and Akpom on the bench just waiting for their chance and I think Giroud realises that.
Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1)
C. Chambers Gabriel L. Koscielny K. Gibbs
F. Coquelin T. Rosicky
T. Walcott S. Cazorla (c) M. Ozil