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Arsenal’s Ideal Starting XI Now That Players Returning From Injury

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With news that dynamic duo Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey are both returning from injuries this week, the Gunners are finally close to putting together an ideal starting lineup. Assuming every player on the Arsenal roster is fit and available, here’s my best 2014-15 starting XI for the Gunners:

Goalkeeper

David Ospina.

Arsenal’s usual number one keeper, Wojciech Szczęsny, has suffered through a patch of bad form as of late.  Following a mistake-filled match against Southampton, which saw Szczęsny be at fault for both of the Saints’ goals (he has now tripled David De Gea, Joe Hart, and Hugo Lloris’ amount of errors leading to goals or shots on goal for the season), the Pole should be dropped for the next Premier League match or two.

If Ospina plays well in these matches, then he should remain in goal; if not, then Szczęsny should be implemented back into place.  Manchester United’s De Gea was also dropped a few seasons ago following bad form and has since risen to the top of the Premier League goalkeepers.

Defenders

Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, and Mathieu Debuchy.

Gibbs, Koscielny, and Debuchy are three of Arsenal’s more reliable players in the squad. Mertesacker, the club’s vice-captain, has fallen off quite considerably this season following three successful seasons with the north London club; however, there is not a realistic center-back to replace the BFG.

Nineteen-year-old Calum Chambers and backup left-back Nacho Monreal have filled in at the center of Arsenal’s defense at times this season, but neither is a viable option at the moment to take over for Mertesacker.

Midfielders

Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, and Mesut Özil.  

It is extremely difficult to leave out Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Jack Wilshere, as all three are talented and superior to Arteta; however, the Gunners need a defensive-minded player to fill the gap in between the back four and the rest of the midfielders. Ideally, the Gunners will buy a more significant defensive midfielder during January transfer market (William Carvalho or Morgan Schneiderlin please).

Francis Coquelin has been outstanding in the middle of the pitch since returning to the Gunners from loan, but the 23-year-old is not yet ready to be utilized as an every match starter for Arsenal at this point in his career.

Wilshere has also played the defensive midfielder role for England (to some success), but many see the midfielder as a central midfielder (the position that Ramsey currently has with Arsenal).  Obviously the Gunners should rotate their side throughout the rest of the season, and Cazorla the Ox, and Wilshere will get their chance to start matches.

Forwards

Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, and Theo Walcott.  

The combination of pace and power of this front three seems mouthwatering.  While the choices of Alexis and Walcott won’t see much objection from Arsenal fans, Giroud’s selection may come with some debate.

Although Giroud has his critics, the France international’s hold-up play is outstanding, and he has scored five goals in his last eight total matches.  The Frenchman’s finishing abilities around goal are greater than fellow center forward Danny Welbeck, and Giroud can also pick out a pass to pacey wingers such as Alexis and Walcott fairly well.

The Gunners could try to go with pure speed and deploy Alexis or Walcott up front, along with Cazorla or the Ox on the wing; however, Arsenal needs Giroud’s height up front.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. gargoyle

    January 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    i would sell ozil.

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