Arsenal now have Olivier Giroud sidelined with a hamstring injury going into their clash against Liverpool at the Emirates, but does this affect Arsene Wenger’s starting XI?
Honestly, the chances of Giroud starting such a big game were always slim anyway. Although he got the nod against West Ham, Alexandre Lacazette is Wenger’s main man in the Premier League. Therefore, the 26-year-old would have probably started anyway and now almost definitely will against Liverpool on Friday evening.
As well as Laca, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will naturally start as well.
Alex Iwobi played against Newcastle and since the boss has brought back 4-2-3-1, it’s likely that he will again. The 21-year-old is having a run of strong form at the moment. Plus, Wenger’s a big fan. Therefore, I can’t see why he would drop the midfielder unless he picked up an injury.
Jack Wilshere didn’t feature against West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, which suggests that he’ll once again stand in for the injured Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) alongside Granit Xhaka.
Then, we have the usual back four of Laurent Koscielny and probably Nacho Monreal in the centre, even though Shkodran Mustafi is supposedly fit now. Hector Bellerin will obviously start at right-back and 20-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who appears to have pushed Sead Kolasinac out of Wenger’s Premier League XI, will start out of position at left-back again.
Wenger’s a gambling man
Starting Maitland-Niles against Liverpool at home could be a massive gamble from the boss. However, since Kolasinac played against West Ham on Tuesday, it looks as if it’s a risk he’s willing to take.
If he does start, this will be the England u21 international’s 12th appearance for Arsenal’s first team this season. His 22nd ever.
Predicted line-up: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.