Predicted Arsenal XI: Manchester City (a)


Arsenal are set to take on Manchester City this weekend at the Etihad Stadium. A win would see their place amongst the top four guaranteed, with fifth placed United only capable of getting a maximum of nine points in their remaining games.

The north London side traveled to the Etihad last season and put in one of their most memorable performances in recent memory – solid defensively and scary on the counter, efforts from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla saw them win 2-0.

Arsenal, unfortunately, have had a bad week in terms of injury news, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Per Mertesacker’s seasons confirmed to be over – with the former guaranteed to miss out on this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament after damaging a ligament in his knee.

Read bettingexpert’s comprehensive Paddy Power review here.

Despite the disappointing news, returns could be seen to the starting XI in the form of Cazorla and Jack Wilshere. With that said, will this be the XI to start against the Citizens?

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Obviously, Cech will start in goal.

He’s been exactly what the club have needed this season and a better debut campaign couldn’t have really been expected. What a signing.

Right back: Hector Bellerin

The Spaniard has begun to tire as the season has worn on but his performances have seen him awarded the league’s best right back of the season.

Despite the accomplishments, Bellerin has plenty to learn and at just 20-years-old, he has years to do so.

Centre backs: Gabriel & Laurent Koscielny

Gabriel will start alongside Laurent Koscielny. The Brazilian has recently faced the disappointment of missing out on Brazil’s Copa America 2016 squad but will look to rest and come back a stronger player for the new campaign. Arsenal could have done with Mertesacker’s maturity in defence alongside the Frenchman but with him out for the rest of the season, Gabriel will have to step it up.

Left back: Nacho Monreal

Mr. Consistent, after a bit of a sticky patch, has returned to his best form. Defensively, Monreal is unbelievable and is rarely, if ever, left vulnerable in his positioning.

It’s harsh on Kieran Gibbs but the fact of the matter is, Monreal is just miles ahead in his ability.

Central midfielders: Mohamed Elneny & Jack Wilshere

Elneny will definitely remain in the starting XI and while it would be good to see Francis Coquelin start – who thrived so well at the Etihad last season, it’s probable that Wilshere will come back into the fold.

With Elneny’s ability to sit in midfield and distribute the ball, it’ll allow Wilshere, starting his first game of the season, to have the license to roam, which he can do to devastating effect.

Right wing: Alexis Sanchez

Alexis has looked really good over the last month but depleted a little bit in his performance against Norwich, which is to be expected when he’s had such a weight to carry.

He’s Arsenal’s biggest attacking threat and has bags of ability, he’ll give Gael Clichy a torrid time of it.

Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil

Ozil has just two games to register the same number of assists of Thierry Henry in a Premier League season: 20.

Can he do it? It’s possible but he really needs to step it up, while he’s continued to create chances he’s not influencing how games go at the moment. The German needs someone in front of him to put the ball in the back of the net. Let’s hope Ozil doesn’t personify Arsenal’s season by being the ‘nearly man’.

Left wing: Alex Iwobi

Iwobi will start, he’s a mega talent and can influence games in a very, very big way.

He’s quick, good on the ball and better than the remaining options – although Joel Campbell should be running him much closer for a starting place in the side than Theo Walcott.

Centre forward: Danny Welbeck

As soon as he came on against Norwich, he displayed exactly why he is better than Giroud. Although the Frenchman did assist him, Welbeck can put the ball in the back of the net and if given a full season, would likely have been the club’s top goalscorer.

He must start if Arsenal want to stretch the likes of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.


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