And so it begins. Unsurprisingly Arsenal have numerous holes in their squad, none of which have been filled since the Euro’s began. Here’s what we can expect from the Gunners…
There’s unlikely to be any surprises when Arsenal lineup in Gameweek 1. Wenger only knows one way, 4-2-3-1 and control possession. I think there’s huge potential for Arsenal to play a 4-4-2 and employ another forward to play off Giroud (See Griezmann and France). There’s no doubt in my mind that Giroud can thrive with a partner, I guess only time will tell. Apart from that pipe dream, here’s how I expect them to line up:
There are certain players who face no job security concerns. Koscielny, Bellerin and Monreal are certainties to be played in defence when fit. You know what you’re going to get from Arsenal’s back four, 16-18 clean sheets and a solid points haul. Gabriel is being considered by many a bargain at 5.0, but I wouldn’t rely on him. I’m almost 100% sure that Wenger will sign a centre back with Mertesacker ruled out for the first half of the season. Mustafi looks to be the guy, if he comes in at 5.5 get on board.
Xhaka will improve Arsenal’s team drastically, but from a personal sense he won’t be a good buy in FPL. He’s there to provide a strong presence in midfield and control the game, not score or rack up assists. Cazorla was so good before his injury that he will surely come back into the first team, but if he looks past it there’s a plethora of alternatives. Coquelin could come in, or Ramsey could drop deeper (He will be played forward if possible) and see a winger come on. The most likely option however is Jack Wilshere. IF. And I mean IF he stays fit, he will be the guy to play the box-to-box role next to Xhaka and it will make Arsenal’s midfield ridiculously powerful. Keep an eye on how he’s tracking.
Further forward, Ozil is sure to occupy the number 10 role. Expect similar returns to last season. He’ll have hot and cold patches, that’s the life of a creator. He remains great value at 9.5 but is unlikely to line-up GW1. Once he returns from injury Sanchez will lock up the left or right wing position. I’d love it if he got played up top with Giroud, but as I’ve mentioned that’s probably unlikely. I expect to see Ramsey resume his wing role, albeit pushing infield. When given the freedom to roam forward and create (See Wales in the Euro’s) he’s simply brilliant. If Ozil goes down expect Ramsey to play in behind the striker… Perhaps they will rotate between the centre and wing throughout matches.
Lastly, the fabled Arsenal striking position. Will we see a new addition? I bloody hope so, because Giroud is a 15 goal striker. As a support player he’s brilliant, but he isn’t fit to lead a team to the Premier League title. I’ll be shocked if another striker doesn’t come in before deadline. However for now, he is literally THE ONLY option Wenger has. Walcott is no longer relevant, and Sanogo is, well… Sanogo.
So, that covers Arsenal! An easy one first up. Look forward to more team previews shortly… we’re getting close! Just 2 weeks to go now, get tinkering.