After a disappointing ending to the Emirates Cup last weekend, Arsenal are keen to take advantage of a rare Community Shield clash with Manchester City this Sunday. This preseason match will prove to be a great test for this Arsenal squad that is still trying to get their chemistry right. The recently added Alexis Sanchez will surely get a look at some quality playing time with the first team, as he needs to get used to the system before the nearing 2014/2015 season. The rest of the Arsenal line up will most likely be the starters, with the exception of a few.
Goalkeeper – Wojciech Szczęsny
While David Ospina has yet to see any time on the field as an Arsenal player, I don’t think his time is now. He is said to still be nursing a minor injury, one that made him miss seeing any action in the Emirates Cup. That being said, Wenger would ideally like to give Ospina some much needed exposure, just not on Sunday.
Left Back – Mathieu Debuchy
There is little debate about who will get the start here. Debuchy has been brought over from Newcastle this summer to replace Bacary Sagna, who now sports the colors of Manchester City. Debuchy’s only real replacement is Calum Chambers, who is likely to start alongside him at centre back. Along with no other option at the position, Debuchy has only played a handful of minutes in an Arsenal jersey, so to get him some more playing time would be helpful.
Centre Backs – Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers
This pairing of Koscielny and Chambers should also be of no surprise, as Koscienly’s main partner, Per Mertesacker, like the other German national players, are yet to return to the team’s lineup. Newly acquired Calum Chambers from Southampton, who performed admirably in his debut for Arsenal in the community shield, is likely to see a good bit more of exposure before the big German returns.
Right Back – Kieran Gibbs
Gibbs is set to resume the season as Arsenal’s starting right back once again. Nacho Monreal has looked nothing more than a good replacement for Gibbs in his short time with the club, and again hasn’t pushed Kieran out of the starting spot during this preseason. Unless something shocking happens here in the next few weeks, expect to see Gibbs in a familiar position this season, albeit in an unfamiliar number.
Midfield – Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Sanchez, Chamberlain
Mikel Arteta – With another transfer window coming to an end, Arsene Wenger has again failed to sign a replacement for Alex Song. Mikel Arteta and Matheiu Flamini are likely to combine again this year to fill the defensive midfield role, unless Wenger decides to finally pull the trigger on a potential target. Arteta is the leading man for the role though, and will surely see his all the playing time he can get this preseason.
Aaron Ramsey – Moving up the ranks of fan favorites at Arsenal, Ramsey will show again why he is one of the best and brightest starts the Gunners can offer. Even though an injury shortened last season for the Welshman, Ramsey still boasted quality stats, and a spark in the heart of the midfield. Ramsey is still very young, and with no hampering injury and is looking to have a very excellent season.
Jack Wilshere – Filling the void most certainly held by a soon to return Mesut Oezil, Jack Wilshere has the opportunity to impress the Arsenal boss after some criticism of intensity during the preseason. Arsene Wenger is looking for his young English star to be in the form that is expected of him. With an opportunity to start against a quality squad in Manchester City, Wilshere must show that he deserves to be a full time starter in a star studded Arsenal midfield.
Alexis Sanchez – Another obvious starter this Sunday for Arsenal is Chilean star Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez has been immediately implemented into the starting 11 since joining Arsenal just before the Emirates Cup, and should be seeing more of the same against Manchester City. Like Debuchy and Chambers, Alexis is still trying to settle in with the squad since recently coming over in a transfer from Barcelona. While his future for Arsenal is very promising, he still needs some time to get accustomed to his new North London atmosphere.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Chamberlain I believe will get the nod on Sunday over fellow winger Santi Cazorla. Chamberlain, having just missed out on the Brazil World Cup due to injury, had a great bounce back performance in the Emirates Cup, and his momentum is something that Wenger should be keen to keep going. Chamberlain possesses pace and explosion down the flank that Cazorla cannot offer, and if he stays in recent form, will be a serious threat for Arsenal moving forward.
YaYa Sanogo – Arsene Wenger was openly displeased with Oliver Giroud’s performance and fitness against Monaco in the Emirates Cup last weekend, saying the big French forward is “not ready”. Unless Wenger shows a quick change of heart, I think he will give Sanogo the start, as you may see Giroud come off the bench if necessary. Sanogo had the performance of his life just a few weeks ago, and will look to continue his form against a high quality target in Manchester City. Sanogo will have to have another good showing to prove to Wenger and Arsenal fans that he is in fact a very adequate relief and replacement for Oliver Giroud.