Alexis Out, Giroud Starts! Arsenal’s Likely Line-Up To Face Swansea On Saturday


After an international break, Arsenal have no time to settle and they will host Swansea and Ludogrets in the space of four days. Wenger has got his team just right in the last few fixtures, but rotation may be needed ahead of a busy winter schedule.

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Aaron Ramsey is still on the road to recovery for Arsenal after picking up an injury on the opening day of the season. His initial prognosis was a couple of weeks, but as is often the case with Arsenal players, the actual time away for the player has been a lot longer.

Back 5: Petr Cech; Hector Bellerin, Skhodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal
Cech will keep his place between the sticks, with Ospina likely to come in against Ludogrets in midweek. The rest of the back four picks itself after a string of impressive performances. Mustafi and Koscielny are really forming a good bond in the heart of the Arsenal defence and the more minutes they play alongside each other the better. I do worry about Bellerin throughout the season, with Arsenal very dependent on him being fit and performing on the right hand side – but for now we have no choice but to keep selecting him and he’s playing very well. Monreal hasn’t been as good as he was last season, but he’s still a pretty reliable defender, out of the back four he is probably the player most under threat from losing his spot, so it’s important he performs on Saturday.

Midfield 5: Granit Xhaka, Santi Cazorla; Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi
This midfield has been working really well, so I cannot see Wenger tweaking it for the game against Swansea, unless a player has come back looking particularly tired or carrying a knock. Walcott is on red hot form and needs to keep playing and ride that wave, whilst Ozil needs to re-discover his form and with an ‘easier’ run of fixtures on the horizon, now is the time for him to do that. Iwobi deserves to keep Oxlade-Chamberlain out of the line-up after an excellent start to the season.

Striker: Olivier Giroud
Incredibly controversial decision here, but with Alexis now so integral to how Arsenal play, it may be worth ensuring he doesn’t pick up an injury with giving him a little break in this fixture. Giroud is back fit and will be useful against a Swansea side that is likely to sit deep. Alexis is unlikely to get back to London until the day before the game, so arguably he will not be fully prepared for this fixture. Giroud, on the other hand is fresh from an international break where he was used sparingly by France.