Despite a largely disappointing campaign, Arsenal have the opportunity to end the season on a high note by winning a third FA Cup in four years. Considering that the Gunners’ opponents are Premier League champions Chelsea, the team selection has to be spot on. The latest team news is that both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez are available for selection, but Shkodran Mustafi has not trained yet and is not expected to be available. In light of the team news, here’s how I would set up the team.
Starting from the defence, I would revert to a back-four. Should Arsenal go with a back-three, we would need Mertesacker to start and considering the fact that the big German has not started a game in over a year, I certainly would not risk it in a game as big as the FA Cup final. So that leaves Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal in the heart of the Gunners’ defence and while this is also a gamble, I think it’s a little more stable than having to play BFG.
At the full-back positions, I would have Hector Bellerin and Kieran Gibbs. Despite the fact that the Ox is fit and available for selection again, I think Hector has been immense since his return to the side and does not deserve to lose his place. Also, Petr Cech will be vital in this setup. Quite evidently, this backline lacks a leader and the former Chelsea man must take it upon himself to bark instructions and communicate with his defence.
Moving on to the midfield, I would go with a Ramsey-Xhaka pivot. Xhaka has thrived in the role of a deep-lying midfielder recently and Ramsey looks like he’s finally hit some form. The tenacity and creativity of the Swiss and the endless running of the Welshman compliment each other perfectly and makes for an effective engine room. When it comes to the Number 10 role, Mesut Ozil is the name that is synonymous with it and rightfully so!
Finally to the front-three, I would go with Sanchez on the left, Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and Danny Welbeck through the middle. While I need to make no justification for the selection of the wide men, I’ve put Danny in because the Englishman can run the channels effectively, compliment counter-attacks and he is not too bad in the air either. Perhaps Olivier Giroud can be an impact substitute later on in the game.
My Arsenal XI: Cech; Bellerin, Holding, Monreal, Gibbs; Xhaka, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez; Welbeck.
Do you agree?