Arsenal travel to The Hawthorns this weekend to face West Brom in desperate need of a win.
Three defeats in the last four league games has left The Gunners five points off the top four with a game in hand, only above sixth placed Manchester United by one point.
West Brom are notoriously difficult to play against and have had an impressive season under Tony Pulis, currently sitting in eighth.
A must win game for Arsenal probably couldn’t have come against a worst opponent outside the top six, so, who would I pick to start and secure a much needed three points.
The goalkeeper and back four essentially picks itself this week, as it does most to be fair.
David Ospina is missing through injury, which is slightly irrelevant since I was picking Petr Cech regardless, sorry any Ospina fans out there.
Hector Bellerin at right back is pretty much undroppable in my team, baring a huge dip in form, and the same can be said for the centre half partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi as they both make the starting XI.
Left-back causes a weekly selection headache for me, and not because both options are in good form. But, Kieran Gibbs has made my selection a bit easier this week by picking an injury…shock. So Nacho Monreal, the spot is all yours, although, just remember, it’s not on merit.
Defensive solidity is going to be crucial against a powerful, physical West Brom team. I will employ a high press in order to squeeze The Baggies and force them to play the ball on the deck, in an attempt to stop an aerial bombardment that, let’s be honest, will only have one winner.
4-2-3-1 is the formation of choice once again, with Granit Xhaka keeping his spot at the base of midfield and I am pretty much asking for more of the same Granit, maybe with a few less fouls though.
As for his partner, well, it’s finally happened, Francis Coquelin has been dropped, because he’s been doing my head in lately.
The amount of needless silly fouls he has been giving away as finally got to me. It’s almost as if he struggles to communicate with words and prefers to kick lumps out of people to tell them that he wants to be their friend. At least he’s got plenty of friends I guess.
Aaron Ramsey takes Coquelin’s spot, with him being given the licence to push forward and support the attack, pressing high up the pitch when West Brom are in possession.
Honestly, if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fit enough to play and Mohamed Elneny hadn’t just returned from injury, either one of the two would have started over Ramsey but, purely for the fact I am devoid of options otherwise, the Welshman plays.
Mesut Ozil makes his return to the starting line-up in attacking midfield after missing the past few games through illness. He, like everyone is expected to press West Brom and laziness will not be accepted, something that I will make very, very clear to him. I wouldn’t mind an assist or two as well, Mesut.
You’ve probably got the impression from the past few weeks that I’m not Alex Iwobi’s biggest fan as he is yet to get a start under my tenure but, I do think he is a quality player. However, the pace of Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott in the pressing style I want to play will be needed, so they get the wide spots ahead of Iwobi. I’m sorry Alex, maybe next week.
As for the lone striker, hopefully Alexis Sanchez can stop laughing at whatever he keeps finding funny and start the games. The Chilean’s pace, energy and direct running likely to cause Tony Pulis’ side problems. Well more than Giroud would, as we would be forced to play right into West Brom’s hands. The Frenchman will still be a useful option from the bench though.
So that’s my team, that’s my tactics, but, as I say every week, Arsene Wenger is boss, maybe for not much longer granted but, alas, he is for now.
So who will he pick?