To rotate or not to rotate, that is the question this afternoon for Arsene Wenger. The Christmas schedule is notoriously a gruelling period physically for players, given the limited recovery time between games. This season the fixture list has been relatively kind to us and having the opportunity to play a different 11 in other cup competitions has been a luxury that Arsene has never had in previous years.
With Chelsea on the horizon Arsene will have to think long and hard about how many players he wants to rest for today. Typically Arsene does not tend to look too far ahead as winning the next match gives you a better chance in upcoming fixtures.
But hey, Arsene will have all the data at his finger tips. How far players have run, how much they slowed down in prior fixtures, oxygen in the blood and all that stuff that I have absolutely no clue about. I would like to see Laurent Koscielny have a break from this one. We know about his ongoing niggles so playing 3 matches in such a short space of time is a big risk. Rob Holding could come in and we could use his strength in the air. If Chambers continues on the right of the three then it could be a rather inexperienced back three but at least the two youngsters have the vocal Mustafi to lead them.
So Alan Pardew is now the manager of West Brom, I gotta say, I didn’t know that until a few days ago. Just shows how much attention I have been paying. They seem a bit of an odd match, maybe it’s just me.
It will be interesting to see how positive they are today against us and if they rotate at all. Needless to say, I hope they play all their kids and we hit them for 6. In fact when was the last time we gave West Brom a hiding away from home? We are due one aren’t we? but to add some balance for the ‘jinxing’ crew, we are due a spanking from them too.
If we manage to leave the Hawthorns with all three points, we will be only four points behind Manchester United which is interesting at this stage of the season. The title is well and truly out of sight for all teams not just Arsenal but aiming for a strong second half to the season has to be our aim. If we can correct our shortcomings then we should be aiming for second, I’m sure the rest of the chasing pack will have the same target.
Back to team selection for a moment, Granit Xhaka looked like he picked up a knock at the end of the Palace game so perhaps today is the day to give Ainsley Maitland-Niles a chance in midfield. Is there any point in playing Coquelin when we are likely to have far more of the ball? Maybe Arsene goes for Elneny based on style and pecking order but I’d love to see the youngster get a chance in his favoured position.
Danny Welbeck did not feature at all at Palace so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come in for Lacazette which would be fine if it meant Lacazette was fresh and ready for Chelsea on Wednesday.
Mean Lean’s Predicted Line Up:
I'd be happy starting with this team if we approach the game in the same way we approach Palace. We have to get our away form sorted out and a second away win in the space of a few days could be just what the doctor ordered.
Fingers crossed and all that.