Arsenal welcome Huddersfield to the Emirates on Wednesday, but Arsene Wenger may have a selection headache with one eye on Saturday’s meeting with Manchester United.
This line up is difficult to predict. It’s a Premier League game, so you’d expect the Gunners to play their strongest side.
However, with Manchester United on Saturday and a win over Burnley just days previously, Wenger will probably need to rotate if he wants to win both of their upcoming matches.
I’d expect most of the defence to stay consistent across the two games, but perhaps we could see some changes in attack.
Petr Čech is probably less likely than most of the rest to need a break, considering the comparative lack of physical exertion required by a goalkeeper in your average game, so I’d expect him to keep his place.
Calum Chambers still hasn’t played a full match this campaign, so it might still be too soon for him. Per Mertesacker could potentially be brought in to add some physicality. I wouldn’t expect Rob Holding or Mathieu Debuchy to feature, with only three league starts between them.
Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi have kept clean sheets in all the matches they’ve started as a trio so far this season, and consistency at the back is more important than in many other positions. They may well all start.
I think Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the most likely of any defender to be brought in for this match. He was one of the standout performers against FC Köln, and the Gunners simply don’t have many alternatives if Sead Kolašinac doesn’t want to start three matches in seven days.
On the other side, I can’t see past Hector Bellerín starting again. He’s still young enough to recover pretty quickly and Reiss Nelson – who was ill last week – is yet to start a league game. Calum Chambers wasn’t exactly inspiring back in a wide role in Germany.
Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka regularly cover a lot of distance in the centre, so there could be some rotation here.
However, Xhaka has only been dropped to the bench for one league game since October 2016, believe it or not.
Wenger has unwavering faith in the Swiss midfielder, so my best guess is he’ll start alongside Mohamed Elneny, with Ramsey rested for the weekend.
I don’t think Jack Wilshere will come in in the middle, as he’ll be needed further forward.
Mesut Özil and Alex Iwobi are both doubts, and Alexis Sanchez could be rested ahead of the weekend, so that leaves Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere to start.
This seems like the right opportunity to give Wilshere his first league start of the season. Between the other two, it’s a tough call. But I think Welbeck is more likely to be saved for Manchester United.
Again, this isn’t an easy one to predict given Alexandre Lacazette isn’t even trusted to last 70 minutes in the league. Three games in seven days might be considered too much.
It would also appease Olivier Giroud a bit to give him his first league start of the season. But Lacazette is clearly first-choice, so I think he’ll still be preferred.
3-4-2-1 vs Huddersfield: Čech; Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi; Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Xhaka, Bellerín; Wilshere, Walcott; Lacazette.Click here for reuse options!
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