Arsenal play Bournemouth on Saturday in the Gunners’ fourth league match of the season, so we’re having a look at how we think they’ll line up.
There are still 35 games to go this season, but it’s already starting to look like this game could be an important one. Arsenal have already slipped to two defeats in a row, and a third, at home against the likes of Bournemouth, will really get the fans worked up – more than they already are.
The main changes to the available options from the last match are players who have left the club on permanent deals or gone on loan, for example Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lucas Perez. But after the performance against Liverpool, I don’t think many people will be too upset about the Ox’s lack of involvement.
Here’s how we think the remaining players will line up:
Petr Čech. David Ospina put in some good performances over the international break, but Čech is one of only a few players who came out of the match at Anfield with his dignity intact, so I don’t expect him to be dropped.
This is a tough area to call at the moment. Laurent Koscielny is an obvious choice, but after that there are no clear favourites. Shkodran Mustafi should be in the team, as long as he’s overcome his differences with the club after asking to leave towards the end of the summer window.
Nacho Monreal seems to have become a regular in the back three, so I’d bet on those three to start. But honestly if any of Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers started at the back, I wouldn’t be shocked.
Meanwhile at wing-back, fans everywhere will be praying that Sead Kolašinac is actually played in the position he was bought to play in, so we’ll optimistically assume he will be. Hector Bellerín is the obvious choice on the other side.
Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka were a bit of a disaster against Liverpool, but they should be better against the smaller teams, so they’ll likely keep their spots. Jack Wilshere seems to think he’s ready to play, but Arsène continues to be vague in his responses to the press on Jack’s fitness, so his involvement is still unclear.
If Özil and Alexis aren’t the wide-forwards when both are fit, like they are now, there is something very wrong.
Alexandre Lacazette should return to the starting eleven, but Olivier Giroud has also been making a good case in recent weeks. I think Lacazette has the edge here, being the new signing in need of Premier League experience. Wenger clearly thought he wasn’t ready Liverpool, but you can only become ready by playing the likes of Bournemouth.
6. Full line-up
So the final predicted line-up is as follows (3-4-2-1): Cech; Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi; Kolašinac, Ramsey, Xhaka, Bellerín; Alexis, Ozil; Lacazette.