If there is any hope whatsoever of Arsenal managing to finish in the top four this season, then they will need to beat Manchester United when Jose Mourinho’s men come to town on Sunday.
Arsenal had looked to of escaped their terrible patch of form when they overcame Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup. But a visit to White Hart Lane showed how they were still struggling to compete with the teams at the top. A home game against Manchester United is the perfect opportunity for Arsenal to bounce back, but can they? For me they need to make several major changes to the XI for it to work. Firstly, I’d like to see a switch to a high pressing 3-4-1-2 formation rather than a 3-4-2-1. Take a look at my team below…
GK – Petr Cech
Cech has improved in recent matches, but let’s just hope he doesn’t have to face a penalty! Amazingly in an Arsenal shirt, he’s yet to stop one.
Defence – Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal
Gabriel really struggled with the quality Tottenham had, so I’d like to see Holding come back into the team as the right central defender. He’s a player that has impressed whenever he’s been in the team and so deserves to start this game. For me, after Koscielny, he is the best defender Arsenal have. So of course, Koscielny should captain the team at the heart of the defence and I’d like to see Nacho Monreal as a left centre back again.
Midfield – Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Bellerin needs to get back in the team. When he is on form he is one of Arsenal’s best players, he’s lost his confidence and keeping him on the bench will do nothing to help him regain that. Xhaka and Elneny should start in central midfield, Ramsey has been really poor in recent games, but Xhaka continues to be the better midfielder. When Xhaka has been partnered with Elneny in the past it has worked really well, I think they complement each other nicely. The Ox had a poor game against Tottenham, but I would like to see him tested as a left wing back. He’s played on the left often enough to be able to perform on that side of the pitch, and the Gunners will need his pace to help counter the threat of Antonio Valencia.
Attacking Midfield – Mesut Ozil
Get Ozil back in the hole behind the strikers where he performs best. I’d like to see two strikers ahead of Mesut, both with pace…
Strikers – Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
A two-pronged attacking force would spring a surprise on United, and I think it would work very well. Arsenal have lacked pace and aggression in attack these last few weeks, and Alexis’ influence has been limited from wide areas. I would get him playing alongside Welbeck and pressing from the front, putting pressure on what will be a jaded United side. Arsenal need to set the pace of this game and set it high. If they can do that, they are capable of forcing mistakes out of this United team and getting the much-needed 3 points.