Just how will Arsenal lineup against Middlesbrough?
After Arsene Wenger’s press conference on Friday we know that we will see a few changes to the side that that will line up against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, but who is likely to come in and who will drop out?
Well, we know that we won’t be seeing Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Abou Diaby as they’re all injured.
Alexis Sanchez will probably be on the bench as he recovers from the savaging he received from some Foxes while Danny Welbeck will likely get the nod to lead the line in his favoured position as Olivier Giroud’s ankles are given a break.
At the back is where we are likely to see the most changes and I find myself getting confused as I try and guess what Wenger is likely to do.
We know that Wojciech Szczesny is set to replace David Ospina and the sensible money is on Gabriel being handed his first start, probably for Laurent Koscielny and his temperamental Achilles.
Nacho Monreal, who has shone lately, could do with a break and with Kieran Gibbs chomping at the bit to get back into the side, will he replace the Spaniard? On the other side could Wenger give Chambers the nod and let Hector Bellerin, who is surely the first-choice right-back until Mathieu Debuchy returns, have a day off?
Given so many possible changes at the back, could Wenger trust Mathieu Flamini to shield them? I wouldn’t be so certain and we could likely see Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla retain their places in the side along with Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott wide.
Tomas Rosicky will probably start and it will be a coin-toss between him and Ozil as to who plays centrally and whom wide. If I had to guess, which is basically what I’m doing here, Wenger will probably prefer Tom’s tougher style in the middle with Santi.
I’m not confident at all with this prediction, mostly because it’s impossible to second-guess Arsene Wenger, especially when it comes to a Cup game.
He could simply replace the injured Ramsey, bring in Woj and Gabriel and make no other changes.