Before their second English Premier League match next weekend, Arsenal will visit the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul to measure forces with Besiktas for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League’s Play-offs. They will need to perform far better than they did against their neighbors of Crystal Palace last Saturday if they want to take something positive from the always complicated trips to Turkey.
For the match against Besiktas, the Gunners’ boss, Arsene Wenger, will almost certainly keep pushing his 4-2-3-1 formation, although the team’s recent inconsistency might have raised some doubts regarding the Frenchman’s tactical approach.
GK – Wojciech Szczesny – The Polish goalie combined moments of utmost inspiration with others of pure lack of concentration last season and he will need to watch his back this term, since he will face fierce competition as soon as the new arrival – David Ospina – recovers from his injury.
RB – Mathieu Debuchy – The 29-year old French defender only arrived at the Gunners this summer but he already caused a strong impact in the two official matches he has been involved in. Debuchy is an experienced defender and he might prove to be a very important man for Wenger’s strategy this season.
LB – Nacho Monreal – Although he took part in more than 30 matches last season, Monreal still hasn’t been able to make a stand at Arsenal ever since he joined them back in 2013. Although, Gibbs’ inconsistent displays so far might open the door of the starting line-up to the Spanish defender this season and his experience might be vital on demanding matches such as these for the Champions League.
CB – Laurent Koscielny – The French International is one of Wenger’s wingmen at Arsenal’s team. Koscielny scored his team’s first goal at the English Premier League this season when he snatched the equalizer against Crystal Palace just before the break. Despite some inconsistency last campaign, the French defender seems to be enjoying a good season start so far and the arrival of Calum Chambers will surely keep him on his toes.
CB – Per Mertesacker – The German international has missed most of this Summer’s pre-season because of his World Cup stint with his national squad. Mertesacker was not part of Wenger’s plans for the Premier League first match but he will probably return to the team for the tough Istanbul’s clash next Tuesday.
DLP / DM – Mikel Arteta – The 32-year old Basque midfielder is still an important piece of the puzzle at Arsenal’s team. Besides being the team’s captain, Arteta is the man who builds his side’s game from behind and he is a voice of command inside the pitch. Although some might question Arteta’s skills, the experienced Spanish midfielder seems to have plenty of fuel in his tank to lead his team to a successful season.
CM / BBM – Aaron Ramsey – The Welsh international seems to be enjoying a fantastic moment so far as he has already scored two goals this season. If he manages to have an injury-free season, he will certainly be one of Arsenal’s most important footballers this term.
RW – Alexis Sánchez – The Chilean winger was surely the most impressive signing of Arsene Wenger this Summer and, if everything goes according to plan, Sánchez will be of major importance at the Gunners’ team this term. His international experience might also prove to be a major asset.
AM / AP – Jack Wilshere – The 22-year old irreverent midfielder’s playmaking skills are of the utmost importance for Arsenal’s attacking movements and, although he doesn’t seem to be at his best on the physical department, he will probably occupy the old number 10 spot at the Gunners clash against Besiktas.
LW – Mesut Özil – As well as his fellow countryman, Per Mertesacker, Özil also lost a great deal of the pre-season preparation and he might probably not be at his best yet. Although and since he was spared against Crystal Palace last weekend, he will probably be part of Wenger’s choices for the Champions League important match.
CF – Olivier Giroud – The Frenchman is still dealing with some physical problems but the Gunners need him to try to grab a positive result on their visit to Istanbul. Giroud already scored an excellent goal against Manchester City this season and he is, in fact, the only experienced centre forward Wenger has at his disposal right now; thus, his presence at the team is almost mandatory.