Arsenal have a number of first-team players into the final 12 months of their contracts, but is that affecting how the starting line-up is selected?
We have played out three matches so far this season, including the Community Shield win over Chelsea, and not once has the team been easy to predict. We have had some injuries which have forced us to shuffle a little, but is there underlying problems?
We have a number of players with less than a year on their current deals, such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere, and this could well be forcing Wenger’s decisions.
Alexis Sanchez is yet to feature for us because of a supposed injury, and we all fear that the injury is a cover-up as the transfer window rumbles over, but he would most certainly be starting in each match if he wasn’t part of this contract saga.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one player who has played every single minute of our three outings so far this term, although starting as a left wing-back, which has forced new signing Sead Kolasinac into the back-three, and I have a feeling this is known not to be the best option.
The former Southampton youth product is being targeted by Premier League rivals according to reports, and is now set to be offered a new £125,000 per week deal to extend his stay in North-London, but after he signs, will he return to the bench?
Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey both started the last match against Stoke City, in which we lost 1-0, and the former has come under criticism for a lack of fight, and that could well be down to having an uncertain future, which raises a question as to his inclusion in the side.
Is our team selection being dictated by the contract issues we have at present? Would the Ox have played every minute so far if things had been different?