Arsenal face Liverpool on 14th August 2016 in their first Premier League game of the season but have a number of players missing from the starting XI, for one reason or another.
The likes of Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud will miss out because of how far their countries made it at Euro 2016, while Danny Welbeck misses out through injury.
Could this be the XI that starts in Arsenal’s first competitive game this summer?
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
The tall shot-stopper will almost certainly start, so long as no injuries hinder his summer. Wojciech Szczesny is still an Arsenal player at the time of writing but is unlikely to be the club by mid-August, while David Ospina is the 33-year-old’s back-up.
Right back: Hector Bellerin
The Spaniard may have gone to the European Championships with Spain but he didn’t play a single minute.
While Mathieu Debuchy is back in full training at the club after a poor loan spell at Bordeaux, it’s expected that he will either leave the club or simply play second fiddle to Bellerin.
Centre backs: Gabriel & Per Mertesacker
After a full season-and-a-half in the Premier League, it’s time that Gabriel settled into life at Arsenal. He’ll likely start against Liverpool.
Some Arsenal fans may be interested in seeing Calum Chambers start for the Gunners at the heart of the defence, though it’s unlikely he will.
Left back: Nacho Monreal
It’s felt a long time since we last saw Monreal in an Arsenal shirt!
He’ll certainly start ahead of Kieran Gibbs.
Central midfield: Santi Cazorla & Granit Xhaka
Arsenal have plenty of options to consider in the middle of the park, with Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny all likely to be available.
It is, however, most probable that we will finally see the return of Santi Cazorla in an Arsenal shirt – almost a year on from the injury he picked up at Carrow Road. Alongside him, supporters could get the chance to see Xhaka for the first time as a Gunners player, with the two likely to compliment each other with their vastly different styles of play.
Right wing: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The talented winger has been heavily linked with a move away from Arsenal but Oxlade-Chamberlain is training hard at London Colney and it appears that he will not be leaving anytime soon.
Having suffered injury that kept him out of the first-team toward the back end of last season, we could see the return of the Ox next month.
Attacking midfield: Jack Wilshere
Wenger is well-known for liking to play Wilshere higher up than his ‘preferred’ deep-lying role that he featured in a number of times for England, meaning we could see the midfielder playing in the role behind the striker.
The talented Three Lions international will need to ensure that he convinces the boss of his worth as when the competition heats up, he could very easily be replaced.
Left wing: Alexis Sanchez
The talented Chilean took Chile all the way at the Copa America and won the Player of the Tournament award along the way but is likely to be back in the first-team by the time the Premier League season starts.
Centre forward: Theo Walcott (Gonzalo Higuain?)
While Arsenal will be suffering somewhat of a striking crisis at the start of the new season, they will still have Theo Walcott and Chuba Akpom (and Yaya Sanogo…) to consider for the no.9 role.
Giroud and Welbeck are unavailable and it’s believed that the Gunners boss is desperate to bring a new striker in, with Higuain the most-heavily linked name so far.
If that doesn’t come off by 13th August, expect to see Walcott up top.
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