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- Teams: Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Cazorla out, Elneny in
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Ozil & The Ox OUT: Arsenal’s Starting Line-Up To Face Stoke
Arsenal will be out to avenge our disappointing 3-2 loss at the Britannia when we take on Stoke City at the Emirates on Sunday. Here is the side I’d like to see Arsene Wenger select….
All eyes will be on who the boss starts in goal after a week filled with speculation over the future of Wojciech Szczesny. The Pole was supposedly slapped with a hefty fine after smoking in the changing room after our 2-0 loss at Southampton while some reports even claim he was told he wouldn’t play again this season.
I think the newspapers have exaggerated what happened at St Mary’s but it will still be intriguing to see if Szczesny regains his position having been left out against Hull in the FA Cup last weekend.
However, for me, Szczesny should still be our No.1 and I’d start him ahead of Ospina on Sunday.
Our first choice back four didn’t fare too well against Southampton but I’m hoping that was just a bad day at the office. I don’t think there can be much debate over what our best defence is, so I’d certainly go with Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Gibbs this weekend.
Mathieu Flamini is available again but I’d actually stick with Francis Coquelin in front of the defence. He may not strictly be a defensive midfielder but he’s been excellent in recent weeks and I think his aggression and love for the tackle will come in handy against Stoke.
Aaron Ramsey is back in contention after recovering from a hamstring injury so hopefully he’s fit enough to start in midfield alongside the in-form Santi Cazorla. Mesut Ozil is also back in the squad but I think it would be wise to ease him in from the bench after over three months on the sidelines.
Theo Walcott looked a little rusty against Hull but his runs were excellent and he’s only going to get his sharpness back by playing, so I’d keep him in the side on the right wing with Alexis Sanchez on the left.
Danny Welbeck is still a week away from returning from a thigh injury but Olivier Giroud is back from his three-game ban, so he should start up front.
This is how I’d like to see us line-up:
With our injuries easing, we finally have some depth to the squad and if we went with this line-up, we’d have the likes of Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky and Flamini on the bench. With Welbeck and Arteta both back soon too, things are looking positive for the coming weeks……until the inevitable spate of injuries kicks off again…..