Apart from Alexandre Lacazette – and Santi Cazorla – Arsene Wenger claims he has a full squad available to face Milan on Thursday, so who will he choose?
Wenger claims that, apart from Laca, his men have faced tests and are all available to play against Milan at Ashburton Grove this week. Presumably, this means that Shkodran Mustafi (groin), Hector Bellerin (knee) and Nacho Monreal (back) are all fit and ready to feature.
Wenger in – team news: "Some players had a test this morning. Everyone is available apart from Lacazette." #AFC
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) March 14, 2018
Saying this, just because they’re fit, doesn’t necessarily mean they will feature against the Serie A giants.
For example, apart from the final few minutes at the San Siro, Bellerin has been rested because of an ankle problem and Arsenal have done just fine. In fact, they won 2-0 against Milan and then 3-0 against Watford.
Therefore, I reckon Wenger will probably field a mostly unchanged starting XI. The Frenchman often rewards players who are performing well by starting them regardless of who’s available.
Although David Ospina will step back into goal against Milan, I don’t see Wenger changing his back four.
Monreal may be back but Sead Kolasinac did a solid job there again the Italian side and against Watford on Sunday. Therefore, the former Schalke left-back may get rewarded for his hard work.
Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny will probably be in the middle again and Calum Chambers did a great job at right-back last week, so I would expect to see him there again, even if Bellerin is fit.
Kos was rested against Watford so should be fresh for the clash.
Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, who’s improved over recent games, will almost definitely start in front of the defence.
Like Kos, the Welshman was rested against the Hornets at the weekend, which suggests that Wenger has plans for him against Milan. The midfielder did score in the first leg after all.
Further forward, Jack Wilshere, who was rested for most of the match on Sunday, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan should start.
Miki scored in the first leg and against Watford, so I can’t see why he would be dropped.
Danny Welbeck will start again as the lone striker because Wenger has no choice.
Lacazette is injured and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as we all know, is ineligible.
4-2-3-1: Ospina, Chambers, Mustafi, Kos, Kolasinac, Rambo, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ozil, Miki, Welbz.