It’s all about walking away from this match with 3 more points by Seetsuma
Alright folks, it’s this time of the week! The time when Arsenal welcome, or don’t welcome, the opposition to our fortress, The Emirates. If you don’t know who we’ve got this week, then you must be living under a rock somewhere. With that being said, Arsenal have a match against the single team above us, Chelsea. Currently, Chelsea are looking likely to play with Drogba as the only striker available, and even he is having some health concerns so we may very well see Hazard or Oscar playing as a false 9. Either way, Chelsea are almost certain to sit deep and defend, with the hopes that they can nick a goal or 2 from counter attacks. If we’re going to take 3 points from it, we’ve only got 2 possible lineups.
Starting at the back, Ospina is the only viable option in goal. Not only has Szczesny not been playing consistently for quite a few months now, he also doesn’t compare to Ospina statistically either! There is absolutely no way that Ospina doesn’t start this game.
At left back, Bellerin is the only option. I realize that Debuchy is back and healthy, however he isn’t ready. As we all saw from the Reading match, Debuchy still has some work to do before he is ready to start in the Premier League again, especially if that start is against the likes of Hazard and Willian! On top of Debuchy not being ready yet, Bellerin has pace, quality on the ball and is Spanish.
Which leads me straight in to the central pairing of Gabriel and Koscielny. Even with our towering German healthy, Gabriel and Koscielny is still the right pairing for this match. Even more so than his ability in the air, Gabriel’s pace and ability to tackle really hard is what’s going to keep Hazard at bay. If Chelsea do somehow get Costa fit again, Gabriel has already played against him a few times in Spain. If it’s Drogba and/or Hazard, Gabriel has the pace and the technical ability defensively to match them stride for stride and make Ospina’s life a whole lot easier. The only downside to Gabriel is that his English is poor. The good news? We have Ospina, Bellerin and Monreal who all 3 speak Spanish as their native tongue. With a back line of Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny and Monreal, we have pace, ability and very good communication.
Now comes the hard part, the midfield 5. This is where we have a bit of options. Obviously, Coquelin and Sanchez are both starting. That leaves us with 3 spots, only 2 of which are in the middle. If it’s me, I play both Cazorla and Ozil. Chelsea are expected to sit back and defend, which caters perfectly to the skills that Ozil and Cazorla both bring. Additionally, they have both learned how to defend fairly well too! The biggest question mark is who the 5th and final midfielder is. Do we push Ozil out to the left and bring in Ramsey besides Coquelin? Does Ozil get the no10 spot with Cazorla next to Coquelin and either Welbeck or Walcott on the wing? Which wing does Sanchez play on if Ozil is in the middle?
If I’m the manager, I play Sanchez on the left, Welbeck on the right, and Ozil, Cazorla and Coquelin in the middle of the pitch. Playing Welbeck instead of Walcott gives us a more physical presence. Welbeck isn’t necessarily going to get behind a defense as often as Walcott does, but do we really expect that to happen at home to Chelsea anyways? In my mind, Welbeck’s ability in the Air, on both offense and defense, is going to be key. With Bellerin, Cazorla and Ozil on the pitch, Welbeck and Giroud’s height are definitely going to be needed to help tame the Chelsea corner kicks and set plays. Additionally, between both Welbeck and Sanchez, we will track Hazard for the entire match. Do we really want to entrust Walcott with that responsibility?
Lastly, we have Giroud playing up top. Much like Welbeck, Giroud’s size and strength are going to be crucial if we want to take the full 3 points.
Bellerin Gabriel Koscielny Monreal
Welbeck Ozil Sanchez
Bench — Szczesny, Debuchy, Gibbs, Walcott, Ramsey, Rosicky, Diaby
My prediction? We walk away as 2-1 winners with Giroud, Sanchez and Oscar all netting a goal.
Is that our best team right now?