Arsenal v Ostersunds Preview and Predicted Line-up
It’s difficult to consider this Thursday’s game against Ostersunds in isolation, with so much of the team selection influenced by the big game at Wembley this Sunday.
So I won’t…
We now can see the true value in last week’s 3-0 success in Sweden, with just two clear days to rest and prepare before our team takes on the mammoth task of beating Pep’s Man City in this weekend’s League Cup Final, sorry Carabao Cup Final…
Arsene Wenger will understandably (or should) pick a starting XI and a bench with one eye on the Man City game, so this Thursday will possibly be more of a case of who Arsene, in my view, will rest and protect, whilst still picking a strong enough team to do the job.
Make no mistake, after the events of the Wigan game, Man City will be like a dangerous wounded animal looking to take out all their disappointment and frustration on their next opponents. And whilst a lot hasn’t been mentioned it, wouldn’t surprise me at all if Guardiola isn’t still very sore at losing to Wenger in last season’s FA Cup semi-final. So Arsene has to do all he can to protect what will be his starting XI against the Blues, because we’ll need to be at our absolute best to prevail…
In considering all the above, I’m expecting Arsene will go with quite a young and experimental team, initially, against Ostersunds. However, the team will still be strong enough not to lose by the 4 clear goals the Swedes need to progress. Even if Arsenal lost the game, it is the importance of protecting our players for Sunday which is the priority to me.
Definitely out is Lacazette, out until the middle of March, but according to Physioroom Aaron Ramsey is expected to return by this Sunday. Is Arsene keeping Ramsey under wraps for the Cup Final..?
Aubameyang remains our big hope for Wembley so he’ll be held back, as I also expect will be Koscielny, Ozil, Bellerin, Mustafi and Monreal. Mkhitaryan is cup-tied, so he can play against the Swedes and he’ll probably be given a central role in the heart of the team. Others who could be involved, maybe from the bench are Kolasinac, Mertesacker, Holding, Chambers, Mavropanos, Wilshere (he needs a few minutes) Iwobi, Xhaka, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Welbeck, Nelson, Nketiah, Da Silva, Gilmour, Dragomir, Osei-Tutu, Ospina and Macey.
I would go with a back-three, with wing-backs for that extra bit of defensive insurance to cover for an inexperienced midfield and attack. With a clutch of experience on the bench in case of emergencies, but with no real need to risk them.
My starting XI would be:-
Mertesaker, Chambers, Holding,
Nelson, Welbeck, Nketiah.
On the bench:-
Mavropanos, Xhaka, Elneny,
Da Silva, Macey.
Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners.