Tomorrow we play the Saints and the question is how serious will the manager and the team take this game. Four days later Arsenal are playing in Moscow the second UEFA leg game against CSKA, and although we are in a strong position to go through, the team cannot afford to play a weakened team there. We need to play to win the game rather then sitting back and could really do with at least one away goal.
So my guess is that Wenger will prioritise Thursday’s game and rest a few players for tomorrow’s encounter with the Saints. I reckon Wenger will rest Koz, Bellerin and Nacho, Rambo, Lacazette and possibly even Welbeck (with Mkhi possibly not being fit for a while).
My predicted line-up is therefore something like this – although I don’t expect another correct 11/11 this time round 🙂 ):
With the above players rested, Wenger can give the likes of Holding, Chambers and Kola another game. Mustafi can lead them and I reckon we also need the experience of Cech in that ‘Back Five’.
I would expect the plan to be to attack and not sit back at home, and therefore Ozil should start the game – with the advice to take it easy and avoid injury…. just do your magic, Mesut. Auba will of course play up-top as he does not do Thursdays for us this season, and I reckon Iwobi will get a start with Jack back in the hole. After sixty to seventy minutes expect Xhaka, Ozil and Jack to get substituted, as they are all likely to play in Moscow.
As always, the first eleven and Arsene’s tactics will need to be supported by the right attitude on the pitch: a mixture of hunger to win, intensity and determination till the end. Those who actually look forward to being at the Home of Football tomorrow can of course do their part too.