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You'd imagine that Matty Flamster will continue to replace Mikel Arteta, especially as he had a decent enough game at Goodison Park at the weekend. Jack Wilshere could replace Aaron Ramsey with Mesut Özil back in the number 10 position but I just had a streak of fear flash across me. Can you get a streak of fear? Let's run with it anyway. What if Arsène is adamant that we stick to the 4-1-4-1 and selects his team based around that? Which would mean Mesut Özil continuing in a wide role and perhaps someone like Tomas Rosicky coming in for Aaron Ramsey dropping Santi Cazorla to the bench. It will be interesting to see if the 4-1-4-1 is here

In midfield Arsène needs to find someone to replace Mikel Arteta at the base of our midfield. Mathieu Flamini and Calum Chambers are the most likely choices. If Per Mertesacker is not ready or if Koscielny is rested due to a persistent achilles problem then that choice gets removed. Mesut Özil could return to the team if ready and that could see the side switch back to a 4-2-3-1. Would Wilshere be the one to miss out? or would Arsène risk asking Ramsey and Wilshere to share that responsibility?

Kieran Gibbs is out for three weeks with a hamstring strain which is so very Arsenal. Let's hope Shad and his team are on hand to not turn it into an even more Arsenal two months. Nacho Monreal who did well when he came on last weekend will continue in Gibbo's place. Laurent Koscielny makes the trip which allows big Per Mertesacker his extended rest. New boy Calum Chambers will have another taste of what life is like at a big club with his first Champions League match of his career, even if it doesn't quite count unless you qualify but you know what I mean.

Oliver Giroud was short of match fitness and looked behind the pace so Yaya Sanogo was given the chance in the Community Shield but unless you've been pacing around London Colny then you are not going to know if anything has changed in that regard. A few training sessions with Giroud looking sharp and flicking passes through to Alexis might change the managers mind but at the same time Sanogo might have been going from strength to strength after having a full pre season. This game is unlikely to be the walk over that some are predicting though. When we faced Crystal Palace for the first time last season, Ian Holloway had just walked away from the job *Deja Vu* and in came Keith Millen. Holloway's team was very leaky just as his Premier League Blackpool team was but the temporary manager came in and binned the old approach, instead adopting a far more cautious approach.

Personally I would love to see Alexis start through the middle, generally you try and place your best players in the middle of the pitch where they get more of the ball but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Arsène go for Yaya Sanogo to lead the line. He has had the entire pre season to get up to speed unlike the rest of his striking partners, not to mention his confidence building four goals in his last start for Arsenal. I think we should start as many of the full pre season players as possible, they have looked the sharpest so far which is not a surprise, this would give the world cuppers extra time to catch up.

Arsène spoke about Sanchez and his ability to play as both centre forward and wide forward so I suspect that we will see him for 15-20 minutes from the bench as a striker today and 60 minutes or so as a wide forward tomorrow. Or of course the other way around. Perhaps we will see the same with Joel Campbell who Arsène said would be featuring today. He and perhaps Chuba Akpom will share the central striking position today and I guess both can play out wide also. Is this the most versatile and flexible squad that

The players all seem to be pretty focused, driven and confident when interviewed which is good but talk is just talk. We will see how they do on the pitch. We froze a little in the semi final and did not have the freedom to express ourselves. We are in much better shape today though and Özil and Ramsey should be totally fit and sharp. I say this pretty much before every game and I'll say so again. I'd like us to start the game aggressively with and without the ball. Closing down at speed when we do not have it and when we do, move the ball quickly and inventively.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more