It seems incredible at this stage of the season that Arsenal only have one single player unfit enough to train with the squad. Of course that is our midfield general Santi Cazorla. So with no injuries and the massive new depth of talent now in the squad, we actually find we only have two certified central midfielders available.
This is of course due to fact that Mohamed Elneny is at the African Cup of Nations, and the truth is they are playing extremely well and are just as likely to win the competition as any other country. So he could be there for quite some while yet.
Then we were hampered with the crazy sending off of Granit Xhaka last week for a moment of madness from our Swiss international. Arsene Wenger described it as a “severe blow” to the team. “Tackling is not the first quality of Xhaka,” Le Prof said. “But he looks more dangerous than he is. That’s why he maybe has to stay on his feet more or improve the quality of his tackling, because you want the right commitment and you want the right level of winning the ball
“He has to realise what has changed in the last five or six years. Tackling from the front is severely punished now, much more than before. Unfortunately for us it’s a severe blow because we don’t have Mohamed Elneny at the moment, and now we don’t have Xhaka on top of that.”
So now we have three games in the next 7 days, and our only recognised candidates are Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin, which wouldn’t be many peoples choices as our midfield pairing, but Wenger has revealed who else he would b considering for a spot. “After [Coquelin and Ramsey], we have Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Alex Iwobi can play in there although he’s not a defensive specialist,” said the boss. “Those are the options we have.”
What is Wenger going to do now then? If he is going to rotate he is likely to do it tomorrow, because the last of our three games is away at Stamford Bridge, and we can’t afford to have tired players in that game. You may say the midweek game against Watford may be the easier game, but I remember them knocking us out of the Cup last season at the Emirates….
Wenger has some tough decisions to make, but who would you play in midfield for the next thee games?