After a disappointing campaign which ended on a high with another FA Cup success, it’s already time to think about next season for the Arsenal. With pre-season set to begin mid-July, Arsene Wenger will face plenty of tough decisions when choosing a starting XI to try and compete in the league.
How should the team line up? Here’s my selection:
While I’m no fan of the LVG special, there is no doubt last year’s 3-4-3 formation Arsenal switch helped massively. The flexibility of playing wing-backs and 3 centre -halves has given the Gunners a more compact shape, thereby solidifying a shaky back line and helping the whole team gain back confidence. It’s also given midfielders and attackers security to go forward without exposing the team.
Despite Ospina’s strong performances whenever called upon, Cech is still the unquestionable first choice for me. Still among the top 10 worldwide in my opinion, he’s got a lot to prove after showing average form last year.
Rob Holding had a great little run in the new setup last year, and looks very promising and secure alongside another 2 defenders. His technique is a real asset in a team which likes to play the ball out and at just 21, he could be one for the future. I would actually start him alongside the irreplaceable Kos. Mustafi would be my third pick. Like Cech, he’s got a point to prove after a shaky first season in England.
Oxlade-Chamberlain did well in this role last year, where his pace and stamina are welcome qualities. That being said, I think Bellerin’s defensive input is better suited for this role. I’d start the Spaniard and let both compete for this spot.
Both Monreal and Gibbs failed to impress on the left-hand side last year, so the arrival of Sead Kolasinac from Schalke looks to be a great addition.
Although Granit Xhaka was a bit of a liability last year and picked up several unnecessary red cards, the Swiss has a great eye for a pass and bring strength into the midfield battle. I’d start him alongside either Oxlade-Chamberlain or Aaron ‘The Revenant’ Ramsey.
Most importantly, with the latest news on Santi Cazorla hinting at a slow, Rosicky-style decline Arsenal should prioritise bringing in a midfield maestro who can be an efficient link between defence and attack. Verratti or Pjanic would be great signings for instance.
Well that one’s simple. We HAVE to keep hold of Sanchez and Ozil. With the exciting arrival of Lacazette confirmed – a mobile striker in the Welbeck mold but with finishing skills – and hopefully Mahrez/Lemar to keep the German on his toes, the attack could be pretty lethal. Sign ’em up Arsenal!