Going into the game against Stoke on Sunday, the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will have a much tougher job in selecting the starting eleven as the Frenchman welcomes as many as four players back into the side. Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini have all recovered from injuries while Olivier Giroud will return after serving a three-match ban. Wenger will have a tough job in getting all these players back into the side considering their replacements have done reasonably well, but here’s how I’d go about it.
Wojciech Szczesny was awful against Southampton and I would go as far as to drop him in favour of David Ospina who I feel deserves his chance. Apart from that, I think the defence pretty much picks itself. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will take their usual place in the heart of the Arsenal defence and will be flanked by Mathieu Debuchy at right-back and Kieran Gibbs at left-back.
Coming to the midfield, I would prefer to bring in both Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini straight into the starting eleven as midfield strength is essential against Stoke. Francis Coquelin was pretty decent against the Saints but I would give Famini the nod as a result of his experience and leadership on the pitch. Moving on to the Number 10 role, I think Santi Cazorla deserves to continue there as a result of his recent performances. Although Ozil is back in the picture, I would prefer to have him win his place back. So for this paricular game, I’d start the German on the bench.
And finally to the forwards, I’d also like to see Tomas Rosicky keep his place in the side and I’d start him on the left flank, considering Welbeck is still injured and Rosa has been in fine form. Whilst the veteran midfielder is another one who likes to play in the middle, he is also equally effective coming in from the left flank. Given the fact that we are playing Stoke, Olivier Giroud should start up front as the Frenchman’s hold-up play will be a vital factor for Arsenal. And of course, the Gunners’ best player Alexis Sanchez will keep his place as well and I’d start him on the right-flank.
In my opinion, this is a team that easily has the beating of the Potters at the Emirates. Should anything go wrong, we will have the likes of Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil to come on and make an impact. Despite the recent defeat at the Britannia, I am confident that this much stronger Arsenal side can do the the job come Sunday.
Arsenal: Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini, Ramsey; Rosicky, Cazorla, Sanchez; Giroud.