Expect Changes- Possible Arsenal Lineup vs West Ham

Expect Changes- Possible Arsenal Lineup vs West Ham

Cazorla Arsenal
Wikimedia: Ronnie Macdonald

Arsenal will host West Ham next Tuesday, in a very important match in order to get a place in the next UEFA Champions League. At the moment, they’re in the fifth position, two points behind Everton, and they have to win every match at home if they want to recover the fourth place that would allow them to achieve the goal of qualifying for the UCL.

The Gunners have a lot of injured players, as they have had all season long. Arsène Wenger spoke about this in a press conference, and he said that midfielder Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and center back Laurent Koscielny (calf) may return to the lineup, although he emphasized that they would have definite fitness tests on Monday. [source]

The scheme will be a 4-2-3-1 as always. The goalkeeper will be, in my opinion, the Polish Wojciech Szczęsny. Łukasz Fabiański played a great match in FA Cup semifinal against Wigan last Saturday, when he was the hero after saving two penalties in the shoot-out, but Wenger relies on him only in FA Cup, while in Premier League  Szczęsny is always his choice.

In defense, Nacho Monreal is the main uncertainty with a leg problem. The Spaniard was replaced by Kieran Gibbs in the clash against Wigan, and I believe that Wenger won’t risk him and Kieran Gibbs will play from the beginning.

In the right back, Bacary Sagna will play for sure, and in the center back I think that Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen will be in the lineup. It’s highly improbable that Wenger risks Koscielny. The Frenchman will at most go to the bench, and he may return on Sunday against Hull City.

In the midfield, Mathieu Flamini in suspended after seeing his tenth yellow card in the game against Everton on April 6. Mesut Özil should be available, since the boss had said that he may play against Wigan, but he didn’t mentioned him as a possible comeback in Monday press conference, so I think he won’t play.
In addition, Wenger spoke about a few midfielders that didn’t finish the game against Wigan in the best physical condition: “Podolski had a little [muscle] problem but I think he will be alright. Then there is Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey (both muscle tightness). They are the main problems.” [source]. Both Podolski and Ramsey were substituted, while Chamberlain finished the match.

For this match, the midfield is very uncertain and it will depend a lot in the physical state of the players, which is unknown at the moment. In my opinion, Wenger won’t risk neither Aaron Ramsey nor Tomas Rosicky, and he’ll put the Swedish Kim Källström in Ramsey position, along with Mikel Arteta in the defensive midfield.

In the offensive midfield, Wenger will have to risk his uncertain players like Chamberlain and Podolski due to the absence of Walcott, Wilshere, Özil and (maybe) Rosicky. I think that he’ll repeat the same offensive midfield that started against Wigan, with Chamberlain, Cazorla and Podolski.

Apparently, Serge Gnabry is still recovering from a knee injury and won’t play on Tuesday, since Wenger didn’t mention him as a possible return.

Finally, the striker position is disputed by the Frenchmen Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo. Wenger spoke to the press about Giroud: “Striker is the most demanding position, he has played many, many games – more games than any other striker in the Premier League, and that of course is very demanding.” [source] I think that’s the reason why he benched Giroud against Wigan, and I believe that he will do the same on Tuesday. Sanogo is a very young striker that can manage to play two matches in four days, even when the Saturday one lasted 120 minutes.