- Arsenal boss offers injury update on Cazorla & Giroud
- Ratings: Cech shines but Ozil fails to spark as Arsenal held
- Video: Arsenal 0-0 Boro: Lackluster Gunners drop valuable points
- Teams: Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Cazorla out, Elneny in
- Team news: Wenger’s update on Ramsey, Welbeck, Giroud & Cazorla
- Preview: Arsenal v Boro, team news, line-up & prediction
- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
TEAM: My Preferred Starting XI To Face Spurs – Podolski Starts!
Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon and we head into the game with a number of injury concerns.
However, while the treatment room might be overflowing at present, we can’t use that as an excuse this weekend. Here’s the team I’d like to see Arsene go with:
Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski deputised very well in midweek and against Everton in the FA Cup last weekend, but Wojciech Szczesny is expected to be recalled on Sunday.
Defence: Thankfully Nacho Monreal has been passed fit after recovering from a foot injury, and with Kieran Gibbs still considered a doubt with an ankle problem, it would be wise to start to Spaniard at left-back. Thomas Vermaelen has performed well in recent games but he’s likely to drop back to the bench with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny continuing at the back.
Midfield: This is where is gets interesting. With Wilshere and Ramsey out, Arsene is highly likely to start both Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini in the two holding roles, but I’d prefer to see Arteta left out. His lack of pace has become a real problem in the bid games and I’d prefer we went with more energy and pace against Spurs.
The Ox did very well in a deeper role against Bayern so it would make sense to keep him there, but I’d have no problem if Tomas Rosicky dropped back with Chamberlain moving to the wing. Derbies are made for players like Flamini but I hope he can keep his head and not pick up any silly cards.
Attack: The latest player to be ruled out is German playmaker Mesut Ozil after it was confirmed today that he’ll now miss between 3-6 weeks with a hamstring strain. In his absence, I’d like to see Cazorla moved in to his favoured central position which would allow Lukas Podolski to retain his place on the left.
The German splits opinion but nobody can deny he’s a goal threat and with the likes of Theo and Ozil missing, I think we’re lacking goal threats in attack, so I’d keep Poldi in the side. As I’ve said, I’d happily see Rosicky or The Ox change positions, as I’m sure they would do throughout the course of the game anyway.
Striker: Yaya Sanogo could be back in contention after passing a fitness test, but obviously Olivier Giroud should start ahead of the youngster.
So here’s the side I’d go with:
This is the side I’d pick, but in reality I wouldn’t be surprised if the boss goes with Arteta and Flamini in the holding roles, Cazorla on the left, The Ox on the right and Rosicky in the middle behind Giroud. That wouldn’t be a disaster by any means, but I have my concerns with the Arteta-Flamini combination and like I’ve said, Podolski’s goal threat could be important, but lets see what Arsene goes with.