Despite the mixed reviews he received for Saturday’s performance where he conceded his first ever goals in the Premier League, David Ospina still appears to be a safer option than Szczesny…for now.
Playing at home, especially on the back of an agonizing result, Arsenal will be expected to come out and throw the first punches tomorrow. What that means is that the line-up and overall approach will have to be very attacking-minded this time. Therefore, Kierran Gibbs who is often more adventurous than Nacho Monreal should return into the frame for this one.
Hector Bellerin is still the best right-back choice at Wenger’s disposal and so he should start despite any fatigue accumulated from Saturday’s show. And considering that Calum Chambers is likely to feature on Sunday in the FA Cup anyway, Bellerin should continue his run in the first team tomorrow ahead of a good rest.
The big debate comes at the heart of Arsenal’s defence. It just feels like someone has to be dropped. Something has to change. And that change may well be Per Mertesacker making way for Gabriel or perhaps Laurent Koscielny doing the same. Either way, this has to be the night for Gabriel’s debut in the red and white.
Francis Coquelin has been racking up a lot of minutes of late and the emerging favourite should get a breather as Mathieu Flamini gets another chance. Tomas Rosicky has been staking a claim for a starting spot way back when QPR were beaten 2-1 at the Emirates.
If anyone from Saturday’s line-up is the easiest to drop, then it is Aaron Ramsey. Rosicky’s energy in going forward and tracking back may be refreshing to see ahead of the stuttering Ramsey who probably needs a break anyway.
Mesut Ozil is still returning to full fitness after a long lay-off and so resting him tomorrow is more of a priority than an option. Santi Cazorla was one of the missing men on Saturday and after being withdrawn so early in the game, he cannot be too tired to redeem himself in another home game.
Alexis Sanchez – if considerably fit – should walk straight back into the starting line-up. And that does not require any explanation.
Theo Walcott was unfortunate to not see his name at the top of the team sheet on Saturday morning, but it also made sense to rest a guy who had just made his first league start in over a year.
Walcott should be back tomorrow and for a quicker attacking unit this time, Danny Welbeck – if fit – should be preferred to Olivier Giroud upfront.
So here we are…