Arsenal travel to Anfield on Sunday to face Liverpool, with the Gunners in desperate need of a win after a dreadful defeat to Stoke City last weekend.
We’ll probably see an odd team selection from Arsene Wenger once again, with full-backs playing at centre-back and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being sold to Jurgen Klopp’s side just minutes before kick-off but, you will be getting no such nonsense from me.
So, without further ado, here’s my team for Sunday.
I had a fairly extensive Twitter debate with a Liverpool fan yesterday and we both agreed that Petr Cech could be replaced although it was not a priority. Saying that, it’s either him or David Ospina available for Sunday so we know who’s getting the starting spot. Cech is in goal.
As stated earlier, there will be no nonsense from me so I’ve taken the logical step of selecting three central defenders in the back three.
After being dropping to the under 23s last weekend by Arsene Wenger, Rob Holding is brought back into the team. He was poor against Leicester City on the opening day granted, but dropping a player after one bad game is never a good decision. We know how good Holding can be so why knock his confidence? Also, making mistakes is the best way to learn, if it had cost us the game it would be more understandable, but it didn’t. So, welcome back Rob.
All my dreams have come true. Laurent Koscielny is back! Oh how I have missed the Frenchman because plain and simple, Arsenal are not the same team without him. He takes the armband and the central role in the back three. I can’t keep the smile off my face at having him back.
Nonsense has been a consistent topic in this piece and rumours linking Shkodran Mustafi with an exit after just a year in North London are clearly that, both in the sense of they are likely to be untrue or the fact that if they are, Arsene has officially lost his marbles. Mustafi had an okay first season at The Emirates and will only get better as he learns more about English football. Mr. Wenger might want to give up on him and so might some of you but I will not, so the German completes the back three.
Thoughts on Shkodran Mustafi possibly leaving @Arsenal Gunners fans?
— Dan Mountney (@DanMSportsJ) August 26, 2017
Now for the wing backs. Hector Bellerin has been shunted out to the left in the opening two weeks, with Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right. But, the Ox’s midweek contract rejection and a game against potential future employers on Sunday sees him DROPPED! I will not have players in my squad who won’t pull their weight so out goes the Englishman with Bellerin moving to the right.
I’ve been thinking, what’s the best way to stop Sadio Mane? After last season, Nacho Monreal is clearly not the answer. But, Sead Kolasinac probably is. The role of Arsenal’s Incredible Hulk is simple, stop Mane at all costs. Put him on his backside, snap him in half, I don’t care, just stop him.
Before I reveal my controversial midfield selection, I’ve picked Granit Xhaka to partner our mystery man. Simple instructions for the Swiss, get stuck in, keep us moving forward and don’t get booked. He might struggle with one of those to be fair.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting about 30 seconds for. Xhaka’s mystery midfield partner is…Jack Wilshere. Yes, that’s right, I’m giving him his chance. He may have got sent off for the under 23s against Manchester City recently but, that showed me exactly what I want in midfield, a bit of fight. Arsenal have lacked big game fight for a number of years now and Jack is exactly the player we need to get in Liverpool’s face, fire up the team and give us a bit of impetus. His match fitness is the only concern I have but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Wait, who’s that? No, it can’t be, is that Alexis Sanchez? The Chilean is back from injury/finished his strop and is available for selection this Sunday. Hopefully, he is fully fit and committed to the cause because he is thrust straight back into action.
After a shambolic showing against Stoke I have now lost patience with Mesut Ozil so he is dropped to the bench, with Alexandre Lacazette moving into his role. I’m looking for movement in behind and around the target man I have picked up top (which has probably just given away his identity) as well as a goal or two, or three.
Olivier Giroud will start up front at Anfield as we have seen Liverpool struggle aerial in recent weeks. The Frenchman needs to bully Dejan Lovren till he can’t take any more while grabbing a goal for himself, or two, or three. I’m not asking for much.
So, that’s my team.
What do you think? Happy to see Wilshere back? Surprised I’ve dropped Ozil?
I’m sure that team would give us a fighting chance at Anfield on Sunday but, as always, it’s all about who Arsene Wenger picks.
We shall see.