It may be perverse but I find myself actually looking forward to the return to the starting eleven of Olivier Giroud for today’s away game at Watford. It’s no secret that I, along with many others, have been calling for Wenger to buy a new striker if not to replace our French ace at least to play alongside him, or off him.
As the transfer window moves into it’s final few days the likelihood of Wenger obtaining the signature of a truly top class striker appears ever more remote. The closer we get to deadline day the more the price of those few forwards still on our manager’s wish list increase. Lazacette has moved from €40 million to €60 million, meanwhile even Manchester City’s unwanted striker Wilfried Bony is beginning to look attractive.
At least with the return of Giroud, Alexis can be excused duty up front, an experiment noticeable only for it’s abject failure, and can revert to his old position on the left. Which will leave Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain to fight it out for the right wing spot.
Arsene Wenger has a predilection for attempting to cram square pegs into round holes, often it seems, in order to get his favoured players onto the pitch. Ramsey on the right for instance or, in order to enhance the attacking options, Cazorla and Ozil together at the expense of a defensive midfielder.
Because of Holding’s lack of Premiership experience, and a bit of a doubt as to Koscielny’s fitness, I believe Wenger will go with two defensive midfielders playing in front of the back four. If that is the case I can see our starting line-up looking something like…
I think that with the players we have available at the moment this is our strongest line-up.
Up front, it gives us pace on the right with trickery and energy on the left. A target man in the middle for Ozil to hit high passes to and a player on either wing for him to thread balls to along the ground.
Elneny has shown that he is ever ready to join in the attacks with long range pot-shots, while Xhaka drops back to cover for the counter-attack.
I’ve chosen Walcott in preference to the Ox as I think he gives the ball away a bit too often. The one doubt that I have is Ozil over Cazorla, he’s a great player but I don’t think we get the best out of him in away games and Santi offers a bit more defensively but with two defensive midfielders we have that covered.
In writing this pre-match I’m assuming we don’t sign, and have ready to play, the new striker and centre back we all crave and the squad desperately need.
My prediction? I’m not going to stick my neck out. I just hope it’s a good game, the players do their best and the away support get behind them and have no call to start booing either the team or the manager.
Written by Norfolk Gooner