Arsenal squeaked through in their Champions League qualifier, and will look to be a little more impressive heading back to the Premier League. This weekend against Leicester City, Arsenal are looking to make a statement that they are a serious title contender.
Goalkeeper – Wojeick Sczcesny
Sczcesny has a firm hold on the number one keeper spot, as David Ospina has yet to see any action. While Sczcesny has had a few shaky moments so far this season, he has held his own. When Ospina gets healthy though, I believe there will be a legitimate competition at the spot. If nothing else, Ospina’s presence will put Sczcesny on his toes, and possible propel the Polish keepers game to another level.
Right Back – Mathieu Debuchy
Debuchy may be the name in the media this week following the Besiktas game, but for the wrong reason. He was sent off in his home Champions League debut for Arsenal, but only after putting together his best Gunner performance to date. He was causing all sorts of problems for the Besiktas full-back, and attacked into some threatening positions. As Debuchy had been getting caught forward previously, he did terrifically in tracking back in defense on Wednesday, and was wrongly sent off for a tackle that many saw as clean. The Frenchman is a lock to play right back night in and night out for Arsenal this season.
Centre Backs – Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny
Back together again and gaining in confidence, the duo of Kosicleny and Mertesacker look to keep in form and deal another shutout in their first trip to Leicester City. The pair are looking to give Calum Chambers a real rest this time, after he was forced on for Debuchy at the end of the last game. The young Englishman deserves a break after a great opening to his Arsenal campaign.
Left Back – Nacho Monreal
Monreal is again in the starting 11 because of Gibbs’ lingering injury. Monreal has played admirably in Gibbs’ absence, but sometimes leaves questions to be asked in defense. Monreal does though provide great assistance in the attack, as he has played some balls into the box recently that have been excellent. He is somewhat of a wildcard at fullback, but let’s see if he can continue his good form while Gibbs is still nursing his injury.
Central Midfield – Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere
Mathieu Flamini looked great against Besiktas on Wednesday, and will look to keep it up for the next few games until Arteta can return. Flamini, unlike Arteta, is a monster defensively, relentless with his aggressive nature. He is willing to throw himself into the riskiest of challenges, usually for the best. If Flamini had the sort of success in the attack that Arteta does, he’d be the savior of Arsenal. If there’s one thing that’s for certain though, it’s that Flamini doesn’t have time to play games, and isn’t scared to show you.
Jack Wilshere, who was a bright spot in Arsenal’s Champions League win on Wednesday, will surely be rewarded with another start this weekend. Wilshere’s box to box play against Besiktas was very impressive, and nearly netted him his first goal of the season, while his fantastic play set up Alexis’. Wilshere was forced to step up due to the absence of Aaron Ramsey, and played possibly his best game of the season so far. With Ramsey back alongside him, Wilshere will look to have a similar performance, and show Arsenal fans how dangerous their midfield really is.
Aaron Ramsey is ready to get re-involved after having to sit out against Besiktas, and continue his fine season. With a rejuvenated Wilshere, Ramsey will look to push forward against Leicester and help out the forward, who a lot of the times is out on an island. Ramsey is the one midfielder who tends to find himself making those forward runs, and with Giroud out for a few months, he will need to continue with his attack.
Left Wing – Mesut Oezil
Oezil has been quite underwhelming in his recent performances, and has been withdrawn in his last two outings. While Cazorla is an option to start on the left side, I think Wenger would be keen to give Oezil as many reps as possible to recapture his Real Madrid form, and become even more acclimated to playing with the team. Oezil is a world class talent, and Arsenal fans are on the edge of their seats waiting to see him show that as a Gunner.
Right Wing – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The Ox is a spark of energy down the right side that is perfect in the absence of Theo Walcott. While Alexis Sanchez could be given the start here, I think Wenger wants to use him as a striker right now, and will give Chamberlain the nod here. Chamberlain has not had great success so far this season, but is a player that Arsenal and Wenger are very high on. He has shown though that his change of pace is something that not a lot of people can contain, and finds himself getting into some very dangerous situations, showing in the Besiktas game in Turkey where he rattled the woodwork.
Forward- Yaya Sanogo
Sanogo hasn’t seen the pitch recently, but I think will get the start against Leicester City. While Alexis Sanchez put together a great performance against Besiktas, he did play a full 90 minutes and covered a lot of ground. Leicester City has given Chelsea and Everton some problems with their defense, and Sanogo’s physicality is something that may be needed to crack them. Sanogo is known to get into some great positions, bullying defenders and making good runs, and if his finishing is improved, will give Arsenal fans a huge sigh of relief in Giroud’s absence.