Shkodran Mustafi is likely to return to the starting lineup when Arsenal take the short trip to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace on Thursday.
Arsenal will be aiming to get back to winning ways after an entertaining draw against Liverpool last week when they face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Thursday, with the Eagles looking to continue their unbeaten run. Here’s how we think the Gunners could line up in South London on Thursday.
In goal, the duties are clearly divided at Arsenal. Petr Cech is the Premier League shot stopper while David Ospina assumes the goalkeeping duties in cup games and Europe. With the veteran goalkeeper fit and firing, there shouldn’t be a surprise selection between the sticks on Thursday. The key decisions lie in defence.
At right-back, Hector Bellerin is an automatic selection, with no viable alternative to the Spaniard. On the opposite side, Wenger has to choose between Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But, the Arsenal boss has hinted that the young Englishman might continue as the left-back, with Kolasinac more suited to a wing-back role.
“He is highly suited for a wing-back role, for a more offensive role. I think he will play again and I gave him a breather as well. He is working hard and I think he will play in a back four, as well.”
At the heart of the Arsenal defence, Laurent Koscielny should have Shkodran Mustafi as his partner, with Nacho Monreal sidelined with an ankle injury that has ruled him out for the next two weeks. Wenger has also iterated that he is likely to continue with a back-four, with the previous system not yielding enough goals on the road.
Up ahead in midfield, Jack Wilshere and Granit Xhaka are expected to start in the pivot yet again. Wilshere will be the creative box-to-box midfielder and the Swiss the anchoring midfielder as Aaron Ramsey continues to be sidelined with a hamstring injury.
In attack, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette are certain to start, with the latter’s selection made more obvious due to Olivier Giroud’s absence. On the right flank, the choice is between Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck.
But, with Walcott and Welbeck still working their way back to peak fitness, Iwobi becomes an almost automatic selection, although he needs to step up if he is to keep his place in the lineup, with Ramsey a possible option to play on the right flank.