For today’s FA Cup game against Reading, here’s the Arsenal team I would play by Seetsuma
Debuchy Gabriel Koscielny Monreal
Welbeck Walcott Sanchez
On the bench: Ospina, Gibbs, Bellerin, Diaby, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud
Szczesny is starting, that’s already been announced so there is no debating that. I’ve gone with Debuchy and Welbeck on the right side for a couple of reason. First, Debuchy is better in the air than Bellerin, as well as he is physically stronger on the ground. Second, I’ve gone with Welbeck over Walcott on the wing due to the defensive cover that Welbeck adds.
I’ve gone with Gabriel and Koscielny in the middle for 2 reasons as well. Gabriel needs playing time, and Per needs a rest. As much as I know Per would love to play in the match, he deserves the day off given how many minutes he has already logged for us this season.
I’ve gone for Monreal over Gibbs on the left for many of the same reasons as I like Debuchy over Bellerin on the right. Reading won’t beat us by playing better technical football, they’ll beat us by using their size to convert from set plays. In this regard, Monreal is much better in the air than Gibbs, as was evident from his deputizing (fairly well) as CB for a few matches earlier this season. Whichever one starts, Sanchez is playing in front of them. I don’t think anybody questions that.
In the middle of the park, I’ve gone with Coquelin, Ramsey and Rosicky as the triangle. Both Ozil and Cazorla deserve a rest, and Rosicky deserves a start! With that trio, as well as Welbeck and Sanchez on the wings, you’ve got the hardest working midfield 5 in the world. While Rosicky will inevitably need to be replaced around the 60th minute, he will drive our play forward just as he has so many times in the past. Come the 65th minute, we will be looking to mix things up anyways with the likes of Ozil, Cazorla and Diaby (who has looked fantastic in his recent U21 matches) to mix things up depending on the situation. As much as I would love to see Diaby and Ramsey anchor the midfield with Coquelin getting a much deserved rest, Diaby playing 60 minutes for the U21s and playing 60 minutes in and FA cup semi-final are 2 completely different tasks.
Lastly, I’ve got Walcott up top with Giroud on the bench. While Giroud has been on fantastic form lately, he needs a rest occasionally, and what better game to rest him than against Reading? As is evident from 2 seasons ago, Walcott has the pace and technical ability to beat Reading. Walcott had been asking for more minutes as the central striker, so this should help with contract negotiations, as well as we don’t really give up anything since Sanchez, Walcott and Welbeck are all going to end up switching positions throughout the match anyways.
Some may call this a defensive lineup as we’ve got Debuchy and Monreal instead of Bellerin and Gibbs, as well as I have Welbeck on the wing instead of Walcott, however that’s what’s necessary to win this game. There is no reason why a front 5 of Ramsey, Rosicky, Welbeck, Sanchez and Walcott should not put 2 or 3 past this Reading team. In all honesty, that 5 would make most teams in the world a bit worried, if for nothing more than the speed and energy that they bring. Where my biggest concern lies is with keeping Reading from scoring on whatever set plays they may or may not get.
With this 11, I see no reason why we can’t bring on Diaby (Coquelin), Gibbs (Sanchez) and Cazorla (Rosicky) for the last 20-30 minutes of the match to defend a comfortable 3-0 lead. What do YOU think?
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