After yet another international break, the Gunners look to resume their Premier League campaign from where they left off, and will hope that their form from October has not deserted them. We are unbeaten in the League since our controversial loss to Chelsea, and are level on points with leaders Manchester City. Today’s game against West Brom will not be east however; Tony Pulis teams are notoriously hard to break down and we have a large injury list to deal with as well.
Nevertheless, the players will be looking to make a strong point after a rather weak performance against Tottenham in our previous outing, and taking the three points today is vital to maintain the pressure on Manchester City. Here is our predicted lineup for today:
Petr Cech in goal. The veteran has been one of our most consistent players so far this season and was definitely worth every penny that we paid to Chelsea over the summer.
Hector Bellerin should make his return at right back. The young Spaniard missed a couple of games due to groin injury, and his absence was definitely felt by the team. Mathieu Debuchy had a couple of decent performances in his place, but Bellerin simply brings too much to the table, both offensively and defensively, for the Frenchman to challenge for a starting spot. Bellerin’s compatriot Nacho Monreal should start at left back.
In central defence, we will probably see a pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny; the manager certainly seems to prefer the duo when they are both fit and available. Koscielny’s availability is somewhat of a doubt though; in the wake of the Paris attacks the French defender was reportedly deeply shaken, and the manager admitted that he would have to judge the player’s ability to take to the field before the game started. Should Kos not be able to play, Gabriel Paulista will most likely take his place.
Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla will start at the base of our midfield once more. The unlikely pairing has developed into one of the most reliable midfield partnerships in the Premier League, and Le Coq’s tenacity coupled with Cazorla’s wizardry make them a potent pair indeed. Their ability to retain and distribute the ball will be critical for players like Ozil to find spaces up front against Pulis’ stacked defence.
Mesut Ozil will of course start as the No. 10. The German has been far and away the best player for us this season, and arguably the most potent chance creator in the entire League. His magic will be essential if we are to secure a win against the Baggies.
Alexis Sanchez will start on the left, despite everyone’s better judgement. Even manager Arsene Wenger admitted that the player was falling apart due to fatigue, and playing non-stop has visibly affected the Chilean’s stamina and movement. However, there is literally no one capable of replacing the former Barcelona man, and even in his current state he will pose a threat to the opposition. Hopefully he gets the rest he needs soon.
On the right, Joel Campbell is once more the last man standing. With Ramsey and the Ox still a few days away from full fitness, the Costa Rica international has one last chance to impress the manager with his abilities. He will be working with Bellerin once more, a partnership that did well against Swansea; and should do some work today as well.
Up front, Olivier Giroud is our only option for striker. The Frenchman has been in good form over the past month; however he too is dealing with the fallout of the Paris attacks, as revealed by the manager. Unlike Koscielny however, we do not have a backup available for him, so he should definitely feature tonight.