Even though I think that Arsene Wenger was right to lay a lot of the blame for Arsenal losing away to Man City before the international break on the referee and his assistants, the fact is that we have now faced three of last season’s top six and have earned just one point from those games.
So I can understand why the pundit and former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas is looking at the way the Gunners got that point against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and suggesting in a Sky Sports report that Arsene Wenger drops the club’s two big name stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, because they were absent from that game as well and it seemed to work out pretty well for us.
Nicholas said, “If Arsenal are serious about winning these big games, I would go with Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck and leave Ozil out and Sanchez out.
“Are they two of our best players? Of course they are, but they don’t do enough in these big games.
“Welbeck isn’t as talented but what you’ve got to do against a back three is move them about to create chances, while Lacazette is our best finisher and sulky Sanchez doesn’t like playing out wide.
“I’d play Alex Iwobi as well. People will question me for leaving those two out but it worked against Chelsea.
“I’d have Aaron Ramsey in central midfield with Granit Xhaka, but my concern is that Wenger sticks with his principle of playing two holding midfielders, even though he doesn’t have the right players to play in those positions.”
I think he has a point, to be fair, but will Wenger really risk going into a crucial north London derby without his most creative and his most potent player? The boss has showed a tendency towards surprise selections in big games and so he may consider making changes to the expected line-up.
Leaving both Ozil and Alexis out, however, would surely raise eyebrows and would certainly raise questions if the gamble did not pay off. Would you drop both or either one for this match? And do you think Wenger is ready to risk it?