I’m not going to lie to you, this week’s I’m The Boss is going to be a difficult one.
Arsenal visit Watford on Saturday with a number of defensive injuries so I’m going to have a pick a team based on those singing Elton John hit ‘I’m Still Standing’ in the Vicarage Road dressing room.
To makes things worse, there are a fair few attacking players missing as well but hey, what would Arsenal be without an injury crisis?
Having not lost since the mauling at Anfield – which seems oh so long ago – The Gunners will be hoping to continue their undefeated run.
So, with all that in mind, here is my team selection.
Thankfully, one defensive position that has not been struck with injury is in goal. After David Ospina’s mistake on international duty for Colombia, I am glad to say Petr Cech is fit so he starts in goal.
Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac are all out of Saturday’s game so the back three is somewhat makeshift.
Per Mertesacker is called into action as he marshalls the defence in the centre. The experienced German is flanked by full-back come centre-half Nacho Monreal and young Englishman Rob Holding. I’ll be honest, it’s not a back four that fills me with confidence but I am left with little choice.
Hector Bellerin is fit, thankfully, so he plays as the right wing-back but missing Kolasinac and having to shuffle Monreal into defence means I am short of someone to play on the other side. Reiss Nelson can play there and due to the powers of deduction, he will have to play there. Big opportunity for the young man.
Centrally, it’s the usual partnership of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey with the duo needing to control the game so a weakened team does not get exposed away from home.
Mesut Ozil is struggling with a knee problem and is unlikely to be 100% fit. Therefore, I am left with a few options to replace him. I could play Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi or move Alexandre Lacazette into that position. However, I have other ideas.
Jack Wilshere has impressed so much in recent weeks that it’s about time he got his first Premier League start of the season. Playing just behind the striker should allow the Englishman’s creativity to flourish and cause Saturday’s opponents a whole host of problems.
Alongside Wilshere in attack is Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette.
Sanchez will not have been back in the country long following international duty with Chile – which saw him and his side miss out on next summer’s World Cup – but I’m sure he will be more than ready to play. We need him to because I don’t imagine we will be seeing him in an Arsenal shirt that much longer.
Frenchman Lacazette did see his country qualify for Russia 2018 and the striker will be hoping to score his first Gunners goal away from The Emirates stadium, and I’d really like him to as well.
So that’s my team. Yes, it’s a bit pieced together with some square pegs in round holes but I’m sure it can get the job done and pick up all three points.
More importantly though, how will Arsene Wenger deal with the injury crisis? Who will he pick? Find out at 2pm on Saturday.