Since Arsenal beat Manchester city, they look like a team capable of going very far this season.
There are many reasons for this change in fortunes, however, I believe that the key reason is that we now have competition for places. It has been well over a decade since we had this level of squad depth. Not only that, I can’t remember the last time when Arsenal had only two guaranteed first team starters (Sanchez & Koscielny).
At the moment, only those two players can walk into the team with their eyes closed. Every other position is being fought for, tooth and nail. Even at RB, Bellerin and Chambers have both impressed enough to make life uncomfortable for Debuchy when he recovers. At LB, Gibbs & Nacho are arguably equally as good. Sure, Nacho has been less than impressive at CB but when he plays at LB he really does play well, especially going forward.
At DM is where, at the moment, Coquelin is undeniably the best. Flamini has been appalling. In fact, in my opinion he was at fault for both goals against Brighton & HA. For the first goal Chambers may have had a poor touch but Flamini gave the opposition too much space. Same goes for the second one: he just offers no protection to our back four and I think his time is up. As for Arteta, he is past his sell by date unfortunately. It is the one position we are short.
From attacking midfield going forward, we have more quality players than the American flag has stars. I wonder how Arsene is to choose between TR7,Ramsey, Wilshere, Ox, Theo, Sanchez, Gnabry, Ozil, Cazorla, Welbeck and Giroud for only 5 spots. He could field 11 attackers! If only in that mix we had a truly world class no. 9, say Eddie Cavani or Karim Benzema.
Given this situation, picking a best 11 is quite the challenge. The only two players in the team guaranteed a starting berth when fit are Sanchez & Koscielny. Even then, the signing of Gabriel means that while he is undoubtedly first choice, Kos still has to look over his shoulder.
That said, only 11 players can be fielded at once. So given that everyone is fit and firing, what would be your best 11?
I’ve put weeks of thought into this and the only solution i came up with is this: there is none. Bear with me for a moment. I think the first choice should be chosen based on two things: our opponents & the form of our players. For example:
When playing opponents who will force us to defend (like at the Etihad), I would start Theo & ozil on the bench.
Based on current form, our first 11 should look something like: Ospina, Bellerin, Per, Kos, Monreal, Coq, TR7 Santi, Alexis, Ox/Theo, Giroud.
However you choose to look at it, we are on the path to EPL/UCL glory.