Arsenal face Swansea City on Saturday morning at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal have struggled against Swansea the past five years, losing both matchups during the 2014/15 campaign and once last season. Coupled in with the fact that this is Swansea’s first match with new manager Bob Bradley in charge, this could be a difficult game for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger revealed his team news on Thursday. Both Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey will miss out. Giroud is dealing with a toe injury and match fitness problems, whilst Ramsey is being put through another pre-season training regiment to improve his fitness after missing the past two months with a hamstring injury. Both players are likely to miss Arsenal’s match against Ludogorets Razgard on Wednesday and Middlesbrough next weekend.
Francis Coquelin is back in full training and available for this weekend, according to Wenger. Coquelin was the preferred defensive midfielder before his injury, but Granit Xhaka has been playing well in the Frenchman’s place. It will be interesting to see whom the manager chooses this weekend.
Carl Jenkinson is also back in contention after recovering from a serious knee ligament injury while on loan with West Ham last season. The English right back will appear for the Arsenal Under-23’s on Friday and could be in contention for Arsenal’s League Cup matchup against Reading in a week and a half.
Although there were no new injuries to report after the international break, the traveling requirements of some players may force the manager to rotate a bit.
Here is Arsenal’s most probable starting lineup versus Swansea City on Saturday.
Goalkeeper – Cech
Petr Cech, the Premier League’s all-time leader in clean sheets, starts in goal for Arsenal. He’ll look to add to that record.
Right Back – Bellerin
Hector Bellerin starts after suffering a small injury scare while on duty for Spain’s Under-21’s. There will be some opportunities for Jenkinson to rotate in and out with the Spaniard, but Bellerin is without a doubt the club’s starting right back.
Center Backs – Mustafi & Koscielny
Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny partner up again this weekend. The duo is quickly growing into the Premier League’s best center back pairing, and the position is now one of Arsenal’s strength. The only knock on both players is their aerial ability. Both Koscielny and Mustafi are winning just over 50 percent of their challenged headers.
Left Back – Monreal
Nacho Monreal was called up to the Spanish squad to replace the injured Jordi Alba this past weekend. It was Monreal’s first piece of action for his country since 2013. He subsequently laid on an assist.
Defensive Mid – Coquelin
Coquelin returns to the lineup after recovering from a knee injury. He replaces Xhaka, who played well in place of Coquelin, but it seems Wenger prefers the Frenchman for now. Expect Xhaka and Coquelin to rotate more regularly after the Swiss captain’s performances these past few weeks.
Central Mid – Cazorla
Santi Cazorla keeps his place in the midfield. When Ramsey returns to the first team fold he’ll likely be on the bench with the way Cazorla is playing.
Having not been called up to the Spain squad, Cazorla should be fully rested.
Attacking Mid – Özil
Mesut Özil had every Arsenal fan’s stomach drop this week when he was substituted at halftime of Germany’s World Cup qualifier match against Northern Ireland on Tuesday. It appears that there is nothing wrong with Özil though, and Wenger reiterated the German playmaker is ready for this weekend.
Wide Right – Walcott
Theo Walcott had a frustrating experience while on England duty, with his performances lacking. Then again, which English player wasn’t frustrating to watch this past week?
Considering his form for club, Walcott’s starting place is secure at Arsenal.
Wide Left – Iwobi
Alex Iwobi bagged his first goal for Nigeria. It’s always nice when players return from international duty having had a good experience, and usually that translates well into their club form.
Although Iwobi is one of those players who had to do extensive traveling, it would be surprising if he were dropped. He’s frequently substituted around the 70th minute mark and he already missed a few matches earlier this year, so a rest might not be necessary.
Striker – Perez
In a surprise move, Lucas Perez will start ahead of Alexis Sanchez. Although Chile only had one game this break, that match was on Tuesday and Alexis played the full 90 minutes. The extensive travelling coupled with when the match was played means Wenger will look to rest Alexis.
This wouldn’t be the first time Wenger made that choice after an international break this season, having done so in September against Hull City. Wenger has also discussed managing Alexis’ playing time better this season.
Perez gets his second start in the Premier League. He missed out on Arsenal’s last match due to a minor knee injury.
Via- Lineup Builder