It is a huge relief to Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans that the France international Laurent Koscielny has passed a late fitness test and is able to start for the Gunners away to West Ham today. With the home side in good form and with Sakho and Carroll in the goals, it could not have come too soon for the Arsenal boss to be able to name a strong back four.
The manager has given Kieran Gibbs a rest but Nacho Monreal is a very able replacement and with Mathieu Debuchy ar right back, that is the best defensive line up we have had for some time. There is more good news on the injury front as well, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also in the starting XI.
But because of Giroud’s ban, the England international looks like he will line up in the front three, with Alexis on the other flank and Welbeck in the centre. A second game in two days is too much for Rosicky, though, and Wenger is obviously expecting a lot of pressure from the Hammers, so he has gone for young Coquelin along with Flamini in the centre of the pitch.
Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Alexis, Cazorla, Chamberlain
subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Chambers, Campbell, Walcott, Podolski, Akpom
There are plenty of attacking options on the bench for Arsenal if we need them but hopefully Wenger will be able to bring Walcott on with a nice healthy lead.