Arsenal take on Burnley on Sunday as they look take a five game Premier League winning streak into the international break.
The Gunners are coming off a 2-0 Champions League win against Basel on Wednesday. Their performance was excellent and they should really have scored at least five if not for a quality shift by Basel keeper Tomás Vaclík. The midweek win followed up a 3-0 win against Chelsea in what was easily Arsenal’s best performance in a year.
Celebrating 20 years at the club this weekend, Arsene Wenger spoke to the press and revealed some team news. Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin, and Aaron Ramsey are still out with injuries but the trio should be back after the break. Coquelin is the closest to full fitness of the three and is coming up just short for this weekend. Both Ramsey and Giroud were dropped by their nations due to their injuries. Ramsey hasn’t played since straining his hamstring against Liverpool in mid August, and Giroud last featured against PSG where he was sent off.
With the form that the Gunners are displaying, the extra day in between this match and their last match, and the international break on the horizon, its unlikely Wenger will rotate his squad too much.
Here is Arsenal’s most probable starting eleven versus Burnley on Sunday.
Goalkeeper – Cech
Petr Cech returns to the starting lineup. David Ospina took over goalkeeping duties against Basel and will continue to do so in the Champions League.
Right Back – Bellerin
Hector Bellerin was again in excellent form on Wednesday. He was a constant danger on the right side and has finally developed an understanding with Theo Walcott.
It’s no coincidence that Arsenal have looked more dangerous since Bellerin and Walcott started jelling.
Center Backs – Mustafi & Koscielny
Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny were in imperious form once again on Wednesday. These two have the looks of becoming the Premier League’s best center back pairing. They both have pace, see the play develop in front of them exceptionally well, and enjoy getting stuck in.
Left Back – Monreal
Nacho Monreal starts ahead of Kieran Gibbs who came on for the Spaniard in the second half against Basel. At one point, we’ll see some rotation at this position, but for now, Wenger is going to stick with his winning lineup.
Defensive Mid – Xhaka
Granit Xhaka starts again for the injured Coquelin. Arsenal’s new Swiss signing has assimilated into the squad very well and it will be interesting to see if Coquelin remains Wenger’s first choice once fully fit.
Before his injury, Coquelin was the clear-cut first choice, despite Xhaka playing well when given the opportunity. If Xhaka continues his form and shows chemistry with his teammates, Coquelin will have to fight for his place back in the starting lineup.
Its possible Coquelin was first choice the past month because Cazorla was the first choice center mid in Ramsey’s absence. Coquelin and Cazorla have developed an excellent partnership and Xhaka’s starting place may rely on Ramsey’s availability, who Wenger may see as a better partner for the Swiss midfielder.
Central Mid – Cazorla
Santi Cazorla starts again. The Spaniard has been in sensational form and has had no issue playing next to Xhaka. With only a year left on his contract and discussions yet to begin, it will be interesting to see where Cazorla fits into the squad once Ramsey returns from injury.
It’s hard to image Arsenal parting ways with Cazorla at the end of the year considering the quality the Spaniard brings to the club on and off the field.
Attacking Mid – Özil
Mesut Özil has yet to register an assist this year but Arsenal are still scoring. Last season, it felt as if Arsenal were over reliant on Özil’s ability to create for his teammates. When Özil wasn’t providing an assist a game, the Gunners struggled to score. This year, Cazorla, Alexis, and Alex Iwobi are all chipping in. Özil has scored at higher rate to start the year, has played well, and Arsenal look better for it.
Wide Right – Walcott
Walcott scored twice and put in a man of the match performance against Basel. To borrow a phrase from Wenger, the 27-year old England international looks like a new signing, and Arsenal look dangerous up front. The Gunners have a real shot this year if Walcott can keep up his form.
Wide Left – Iwobi
Iwobi was named on the Golden Boy shortlist – an award given by Italian news outlet Tuttosport to the most outstanding player in Europe under the age of 21. The Nigerian international is deserving of the nomination but comes up against some stiff competition.
At the moment, Iwobi is one of the first names on the team sheet and is easily keeping Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of the starting lineup.
Striker – Alexis
This past week, Alexis has looked like a striker. After coming under much criticism for his form leading the line, the Chilean looks more comfortable up front and clearly understands his role in the squad. Although he missed a few clear-cut chances against Basel, he setup Walcott’s first goal and created chances for others, as well.
Like Walcott, if Alexis continues in this vain of form up front, Arsenal will be dangerous the rest of the year.
Via – Lineup Builder