4-2-3-1 – Leno, Lacazette & Torreira all start: My Arsenal line-up vs Cardiff

By on September 1, 2018

alexandre lacazette

Arsenal will look to head in to the international break off the back of another win when we take on Cardiff in Wales on Sunday afternoon. This is the line-up I’d like Unai Emery to select…

Goalkeeper: Leno

Cech has been installed as Emery’s No.1 and no doubt he’ll keep his place tomorrow but I’d like to see Leno given his chance. I find it odd that the club spent £22m on a new goalkeeper – a position we badly needed to upgrade – only to leave him on the bench. I get he might need a bit of time to adapt but I’d throw him in to action tomorrow. No time like the present.

Defence: Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal

Koscielny is back in light training after making good progress in his recovery from Achilles surgery but the French international is still several weeks away from being available for selection so we’ll have to stick with Mustafi alongside Sokratis.

Some fans have been calling for Lichtsteiner to come in at right-back as Bellerin has been caught out defensively several times already this season but I think the Spaniard offers too much going forward to be dropped.

Monreal proved his worth yet again with another important goal last weekend so obviously he should continue at left-back in the absence of Kolasinac – who’s still recovering from a knee injury.

Midfield: Torreira, Ramsey, Ozil

Surely it’s time to give Torreira his full debut?! Guendouzi was excellent in the first two games but his level dropped against West Ham and this is what we’re going to get with a youngster who’s barely had any experience of first team football at a top club.

Torreira was signed to be our defensive shield in front of the defence so I don’t understand why we’re messing around. Just start the Uruguayan international and give Guendouzi the time he needs to develop as a player.

Xhaka’s inconsistencies were exposed again last week. He’s an important player when we’re in possession as he moves the ball quickly through the lines but he’s a liability when the other team attacks. He never tracks his runner or offers any protection so unfortunately I think the cons outweigh the pros.

Ramsey played in the advanced midfield position against West Ham but I still think he’s more effective further back in a box-to-box role. I think a partnership of Ramsey and Torreira has a lot of potential if the Welshman can get the balance right between defence and attack.

It’s going to be interesting to see whether Ozil starts amid reports that he called in sick last week after being told he would be on the bench against West Ham. I think he’s too good a player to be dropped but he certainly has to listen to what Emery wants from him and press from the front.  I’d like to see Mesut deployed just ahead of Torreira and Ramsey in a midfield three tomorrow.

Attack: Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Emery has suggested he’s not ready to start Lacazette and Aubameyang together but I think it’s a big mistake. We look far more dangerous going forward when they’re on the pitch together and Auba has already said he’s happy to play out wide – where he played for Dortmund – in order to accommodate Laca up front.

The French international has made a huge impact whenever he’s come off the bench this season so he deserves to start against Cardiff. I just hope Emery gives Aubameyang a chance on the wing, too.

That would mean Iwobi dropping out as I’d stick with Mkhitaryan in attack. Iwobi has started the season well but I think an attack of Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Auba and Laca is a mouth-watering prospect. It might be too attacking to start in some of the tougher games but I think we’d run riot against Cardiff.

Here is the side I hope we’ll see:

While this is the team I’d go with, in reality I think Emery will select Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil; Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang. Either way, let’s hope the boys bring home another three points and send us in to the international break in buoyant mood.