Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday with an away fixture against the struggling Swansea up next. The Gunners need nothing less than 3 points as they look to make up ground on the Premier League leaders, Chelsea.
As much as he has struggled, I don’t think Wenger should drop Cech, yet. It would cause too many waves. We can’t underestimate the importance of his leadership on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal
Gibbs is unlikely to be fit in time, but both Bellerin and Koscielny should be fully fit for the trip to Wales. Hector looked off the pace against Bournemouth, but Wenger confirmed he had a knock. He was rested against Preston and now should be fresh and available for this match. Mustafi hasn’t looked the same since returning from injury, but he needs to settle again alongside Koscielny to form a strong defensive partnership, like the one they had at the start of the season.
Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka
At the base of midfield Arsenal have very little choice. They need to pray that both Xhaka and Ramsey come through the next few games unscathed and also build a strong partnership in the middle of the park, because with Elneny on international duty and Coquelin and Cazorla still injured, Arsene Wenger has pretty much no alternative here. Should an emergency arise then we might see the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Ainsley Maitland-Niles shoehorned into a central midfield role, but Wenger will want to avoid this scenario. Could he be looking at dipping into the transfer market? Long-term target N’Zonzi has again been linked recently.
Lucas Perez, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez
It may seem harsh to drop Iwobi out of the line-up after perhaps one of his best performances this season against Preston, but another good performer in that team was Lucas Perez. The Spaniard’s first team opportunities have been few and far between since he joined the London club in the summer and he has performed very well when called upon. He needs a run in the starting line up to prove his worth and I feel combining with the likes of a fit-again Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, we will see a truly quality player emerge. If this is the line-up then both Lucas and Alexis need to ensure they work hard defensively, as they are both naturally attacking players.
The big man Olivier is in the form of his life at the moment and he’s loving every second of it. The Frenchman is capable of scoring any kind of goal right now and he simply has to start again. With Ozil, Lucas and Alexis behind him, I think Arsenal will have a very talented front four on show in Wales. If these four can click, then I believe they can build a good relationship and help reignite Arsenal’s attack.