I’m baaaaaaaaaaack! I’m here because I know how you’re feeling. I know the indecision you feel when picking someone. Will they play? Will they fit the formation? Will the manager hate them? LUCKILY I’m here with my Crystal Ball of Success. Today’s XI…. Arsenal! (Sorry West Ham fans, the alphabet’s a bitch.)
Rather straight-forward choices here. Gibbs is the only recognised Left-back, with Vermaelen able to fill in if needed. Koscielny and Vermaelen formed a tighter bond than Per Mertesacker did with any of those two, so he is relegated to the bench. The injury to Sagna means Jenkinson will be afforded a start for the beginning of the season. At 4.5, he would be a very tasty way into the Gunners’ back four.
Also relatively straightforward. The departure of Benayoun back to Chelsea, couple with the injuries to both Rosicky and Wilshere mean that the only three real midfielders that they can field are Song, Arteta, and Ramsey. Expect all three to be rotated through each central position, with Song possibly holding down a CDM post (although his attacking talents are somewhat wasted there. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERfaD-CISVE )
Here is where things get speculative. Firstly, I’m assuming RVP is gone, which I think he will be by the start of the season. That means Giroud has first crack at the striker position. This would leave Podolski out on the LW, with Walcott on the right. However, I believe the forwards will be rotated heavily throughout the season, in order to further the growth of young gun Oxlade-Chamberlain. This could see Podolski move into the striker position, with the Ox on the left and Walcott on the right. Alternatively, The Ox could come in on the right, and Walcott subbed. Either way, the important thing to take from this is Podolski WILL START. The only gamble is to his position. Monitor him closely, if he shines in one position but not the other don’t jump on him until he is assured of his preferred position. Expect inconsistency!
(Note: If Van Persie stays, the front three will probably line up with him in place of Giroud)
Anyway that just about does it for Arsenal. Keep in mind that these are all PROVISIONAL TEAMS. I was only joking about the crystal ball. If you have any alternative XI’s, let me know in the comments or on twitter @tseagrim. All feedback or constructive criticism welcome!
Next up… Aston Villa!