With just three days to go until Arsenal continue their fight to retain the FA Cup, Fresh Arsenal has been looking at how Arsenal should line up to face Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon.
The boss has already maintained his feelings that Brighton hold a strong attacking unit, and that Arsenal fans should not expect an easy trip South of the Emirates.
With that in mind, Wenger is expected to name a squad mixed with youth, experience and players that simply need to gain a bit of confidence. The Cup tie couldn’t come at a better time for some Arsenal players, who have a very big point to prove.
Goalkeeper – David Ospina
What reason do we have to take this man out of the sticks? In the last three games the Colombian has started, he has gained clean sheets, including the last FA Cup game against Hull City where the Gunners came off 2-0 winners. Wenger may be tempted to rest Ospina for the Premier League, but we know how the boss feels about the FA Cup now and won’t want to send too much of an ‘average’ game mentality off to the players.
Left Back – Kieran Gibbs
Gibbo is finally back in contention after suffering a number of setbacks in his return from injury. Multiple little strains have kept the Englishman from making his return, but this is the sort of competition game to get the 23-year-old back into the run of things.
Centre Backs – Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers
Very straight forward for Wenger here, with Koscielny proving to perform at top-level since his return from injury, Wenger will want to see how Chambers can adapt to the role again. Mertesacker retains his place in the side, and will yet again captain the Gunners.
Right Back – Hector Bellerin
The boss confirmed on Thursday afternoon that Bellerin was suffering a slight knock and would have a scan to see how ready he was. Depending on that scan, the defense could face a slight reshuffle.
Centre Defensive Midfield – Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky
It’s great to have Flamini back in the side, he made a slight appearance when he came on against Manchester City last Sunday, but the Frenchman will be keen to fight his way back into the starting line up, after recent stand out performances from Francis Coquelin. Tomas Rosicky will play the role of Aaron Ramsey, and will be key to spark the attacks with the short bursts of pace he provides.
Centre Midfield – Mesut Ozil
A chance for Mesut to get back into the team and be the shining light again, possibly with no Sanchez or Cazorla to take his limelight, this is an opportunity for the German to grab some much-needed confidence. His first start in what has been nearly 3 months out, Ozil will slot straight into the central midfield position, with Wenger easing him back in cleverly to this in-form Arsenal side.
Left Midfield – Joel Campbell
He got his chance against Hull and he simply didn’t take it, but for Joel Campbell he should be fortunate that Wenger believes in players. The FA Cup is the kind of place Arsenal players can grow, and the Costa Rican man just needs to try to get a string of games together. But with the return of Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry waiting in the wings, competition has never been harder on the right hand side.
Right Midfield – Theo Walcott
What a great moment it is to see his name in the starting line up again, Walcott is the kind of player who relishes games like Brighton, its a chance for him to really get at the opposition, and possible grab a few goals. I can imagine Wenger will hand him 70 minutes, but it is all slow progress to fitting into what is hoping to be a good Champions League run.
Forward – Olivier Giroud
Another start for the Frenchman as Wenger doesn’t really have too many options in this position at present due to the injury of Danny Welbeck and recent loaning of Yaya Sanogo. Again, this game should provide Giroud the chance to show the boss why he deserves to be in the squad week in, week out, lets just hope he doesn’t take the run of games for granted.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1)
H. Bellerin C. Chambers P. Mertesacker (c) K. Gibbs
M. Flamini T. Rosicky
T. Walcott M. Ozil J. Campbell