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TEAM: My Preferred Starting XI To Take On Wigan In The FA Cup

By on April 10, 2014

An injury-hit Arsenal will take on holders Wigan Athletic in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday evening, here’s my preferred starting eleven for the game.

Goalkeeper: Arsene Wenger has already confirmed Lukasz Fabianski will start the game, and it’s the right decision. Fabs has been excellent whenever called upon this season and deserves to start.

Defence: We may have very little option other than to play the same back four that started against Everton last week. Laurent Koscielny is still out with a calf problem and Kieran Gibbs is a major doubt with an ankle injury that saw him miss the trip to Goodison Park. Let’s hope they play better than they did against the Toffees!

Midfield: The good news is that Aaron Ramsey will start his first game in nearly four months. Mathieu Flamini is suspended and Jack Wilshere is still injured so Mikel Arteta is almost certain to start alongside the Welshman unless the boss goes with on-loan midfielder Kim Kallstrom – but it could be a big risk handing him his full debut in such an important and intense game.

Attack: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky are both major doubts for the game. I really hope they make it, especially The Ox, as we desperately need his pace in the team. If he fails to pass a late fitness test, hopefully Serge Gnabry is fit enough to start. The German missed the Everton game with a minor knock but he has done an interview on the clubs website yesterday saying how much he’s looking forward to the Wigan game and Arsene didn’t mention him in his injury update earlier, so hopefully he’s back in the squad as we desperately need to have some pace in the side as we’ve been slow and pedestrian in recent weeks in the final third. With Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil still out, Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski are likely to retain their places in the attack.

Striker: Now this is a difficult call. I’ve been saying for weeks that Yaya Sanogo deserves a chance as Olivier Giroud has looked tired and jaded recently, but I’d be nervous if the youngster was selected for this game. He’s completely unproven at the top level and we have no idea how he’d react to playing such a big occasion, so for that reason I’d be inclined to stick with Giroud.

My XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Gnabry/The Ox, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.

Once again, we’ve been hit by a number of injuries just before a huge game and we could be without up to 11 players this weekend. People can go on about squad depth all they want, but the fact is no club in the Premier League could cope with that many injuries at the same time, so we need to figure out why we pick up so many injuries just as much as worry about adding to the squad.

I’m still confident this eleven should be able to beat a Championship side, but you just can’t underestimate the opposition. Especially a team that’s beaten Man City twice in this competition over the last two years.

What team would you go with? Do we have the resources to win?

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