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Probable Arsenal Starting Lineup vs Aston Villa

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Wikimedia: Dudek1337

Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger, received really bad news about Theo Walcott. The forward will be out of the pitch for at least six months, due to a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee in the derby against Tottenham on January 4. He won’t play any games in the rest of the season, and he’ll even miss the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Taking this into account, several options arise for Arsenal’s offensive midfield for the rest of the season, and in particular for the next match, on Monday, January 13 against Aston Villa. For example, Cazorla could switch to the right side (Walcott’s position) and Lukas Podolski can play on the left. This option would keep the attack strength, since Podolski and Walcott are both forwards that can play as offensive midfielders.

Another possible choice is to put Gnabry -who played great against the Spurs- in the place of Walcott, with Ozil and Cazorla in their usual positions. Or maybe Rosicky could be the player that replaces Walcott. In my opinion, Wenger will choose the first option, since Gnabry is a very young -18 years old- and inexperienced player, and Rosicky in the place of Walcott would lead to a more defensive midfield, which would imply a more significant change in the way of playing -more possession but less goal threat- of the team as a whole.

The rest of the team is almost defined. The central defenders will surely be Koscielny and Mertesacker, and Sagna will be the right back. The only doubt in the defense is the left back position. If Gibbs is fit, he’ll definitely play; otherwise, Nacho Monreal will be the left back. Gibbs injured his calf in the match against Newcastle on December 29, and Arsene Wenger spoke about him and the midfielder Aaron Ramsey -who hasn’t played since December 26 due to a thigh issue- : “Ramsey and Gibbs are very close. There is a small possibility that both of them could be available on Monday”. [source: Arsenal official website].

In the defensive midfield, Arteta will play for sure, since he’s fit and Wenger has confidence in him, and Jack Wilshere is the most likely player to join him. Olivier Giroud will play as centre forward, after recovering from an ankle issue and an illness that sidelined him for two games.