Arsenal faces a quick turnaround, in an away match against West Ham Sunday. After grinding out a win against QPR, deservedly so, Arsene Wenger will have to decide who is fit and who is not.
Laurent Koscielny should make a return, and Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott both look set to start. Besides those three it is unclear who is available and who is not.
The Christmas period always challenges players and managers a like, both physically and mentally, Arsenal’s test is even more difficult when considering their extensive injury list. This will be a testing match.
Here is Arsenal’s probable starting lineup:
Goalkeeper – Szczesny
Wojciech didn’t have much to do against QPR, hopefully that stays the same against West Ham.
Right Back – Debuchy
He has been in good form since returning from injury and will continue to do so. Calum Chambers will be rested as Wenger previously stated, he has played too many games so soon in his young Arsenal career.
Center Backs – Koscielny & Monreal
Koscielny returns from injury, possibly too soon, and Per Mertesacker will be rested in place of Nacho Monreal, who had a good match against QPR.
Left Back – Gibbs
Ideally Kieran Gibbs would be rested in this match, but Monreal is needed in central defense. Gibbs’ health has been encouraging this season, a sign that his previous health issues may be past him.
Defensive Mid – Flamini
Mathieu Flamini seems tireless currently, which is concerning because it’s only a matter of time before this strenuous run of games catches up to him. Unfortunately there is no one to replace him and grant him some rest. Wenger does not trust Francis Coquelin enough.
Central Mid – Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was granted a full weeks rest, one he needed to regain his health. He will replace the excellent Tomas Rosicky, and hopefully the Ox can replicate Rosicky’s energetic performance.
Attacking Mid – Cazorla
Santi Cazorla currently seems more irreplaceable than Alexis Sanchez, and has been a catalyst for wave after wave of Arsenal attacks. He could use a rest, but he is hard to replace currently, Rosicky would be the obvious choice to do so but he only just returned from injury.
Wide Right – Walcott
It was surprising that Wenger didn’t grant Theo some minutes against QPR on Boxing Day, but he should get his first start of the season in place of Alexis.
Wide Left – Podolski
Olivier Giroud’s red card pushes Danny Welbeck back to center forward, allowing for Podolski to start on the left. Yaya Sanogo could start in the center, but seeing as he didn’t evens make it on the bench against QPR, it’s unlikely he starts this weekend.
Center Forward – Welbeck
Another player he could use a rest, but after Giroud’s ridiculous red card, Welbeck is forced to start in the center. Alexis may be an option here, but he needs a rest more than anybody in the squad.
Via – Lineup Builder