Arsène Wenger’s side didn’t have enough cutting edge against Crystal Palace at the weekend and he might be tempted to make a number of changes as West Bromwich Albion visit north London.
If there’s one thing you can guarantee of Tony Pulis’ side on Thursday evening, they certainly won’t be adventurous.
The Gunners will have Petr Čech in goal again despite a small error at the weekend. Ahead of the Czech, 75% of the back four picks itself: Laurent Koscielny, Héctor Bellerín and Nacho Monreal are first choice and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. There’s one more selection and Wenger could be tempted to reinstate Per Mertesacker thanks to Gabriel’s questionable ability in the air.
In midfield, there is really no need to play a limited combative midfielder: Francis Coquelin shouldn’t be playing in these matches. Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny can both get forward and both defend, offering Arsenal the off-ball movement and energy that is needed to break down a stubborn defence.
If we don’t test an Elneny-Ramsey midfield on Thursday, we never will.
The attacking midfielders deserve to keep their places, with Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez and Alex Iwobi all impressing in recent weeks.
Up front, Danny Welbeck has struggled in the last couple of games. The striker’s form was incredibly impressive after a long lay-off but matches against West Ham United and then Crystal Palace saw him really struggle to get involved. That means Wenger could be tempted to rotate him out for at least one match.
Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick against West Brom on the first day of last season but Olivier Giroud has a good record in games like this and can help break down defensive sides with his intelligent link-up play.
Giroud also offers added security at set-pieces. It’s up in the air, but I think we might see Oli again.