I usually dislike “let’s guess what the team is for this weekend” blogs. They are simple guess work. And usually published just for hits and advertising revenue. No one really knows what is going on. They make educated guesses by looking at what colour training tops players are wearing, and who is fit.
However, with the FA Cup coming up on Saturday, I think team selection actually makes for interesting discussion.
In goal, you would usually expect to see Arsenal make the switch and put in the 2nd choice keeper. That is what we have done over recent years. However, it seems after his errors earlier in the season, David Ospina has completely fallen out of favour.
Against Sunderland in the 3rd round, Petr Cech started. And I would expect that continue.
Conspiracy theory: Petr Cech has a clause in his contract stating that he must start in the FA Cup, so as to avoid a situation where he is number 1, yet misses playing at Wembley when we make the final.
Right back is an equally interesting situation.
Mathieu Debuchy, like Ospina, has fallen out of favour. He will not play. That leaves Arsenal with Hector Bellerin starting again. Who plays at right back could depend what happens at centre back.
If Wenger go’s with Koscileny and Gabriel, it will free up Calum Chambers to replace Bellerin for a single game. If he decides to go for Chambers and Gabriel, then we have no choice but to keep Bellerin in the side. My bet is he will go for the later. With Koscileny getting a rest and Bellerin starting alongside Chambers & Gabriel.
Side note: Could we see Chambers play centre midfield with Koscileny and Gabriel being the partnership at the back?
Finally left back pretty much picks himself. Kieran Gibbs will start.
In central midfield, we will likely see whole sale changes. Mohamed Elneny will surely play his first game for the club. Likely alongside Mikel Arteta. Although Calum Chambers could also fit in their as per above. I imagine it will be the first pairing as Wenger will look to partner Elneny with someone a bit more experienced.
Moving forward, Alexis Sanchez will surely be given a 60 minute run out as he returns to fitness. At the opposite end of the scale, Mesut Ozil will be rested once more. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also likely start in the middle, replacing the aforementioned Ozil.
On the right, it will be one of Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell and Alex Iwobi. If I was a betting man, I would go with Alex Iwobi. Although I would like to see Walcott return to the right hand side where he is clearly at his best.
Iwobi has been good, whilst not exceptional, in his performances so far at the club. He will be given a full 90 minutes to impress in my opinion.
Upfront is anyone’s guess. Will Wenger give Walcott a run out up top? Giroud barely played against Chelsea, is he injured? Who knows? Who cares?
So my predicted team?
Bellerin Chambers Gabriel Gibbs
Iwobi Ox Sanchez