Burnley Preview: Unleash the Elneny!
From an injury standpoint, things have been a lot better at Arsenal. As it stands, it’s just Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla that are the long-term absentee, and we hope it stays this way. Just that at Arsenal, things aren’t always normal.
This also means that Wenger has a full squad to select from as the Gunners host Burnley in the FA Cup Fourth Round. With half an eye on Tuesday’s clash with Southampton, he will want to rest the core of his first team squad today, while doing his bit to field a competitive squad for the match day.
David Ospina hasn’t stood in between the sticks since that his horror show against Olympiakos in October and he has had some injury problems to contend with, but I expect him to play a part in today’s fixture. It has been a long while since the fans chanted ‘Ooooooooooooooooospina’ and it would be nice to hear 60,000+ fans in one voice when the Colombian goalie takes a dead ball.
In the defense, it would be nice to see Matt Debuchy in action again. I know he has been acting like a girl on her period in recent weeks but it’s high time we give Hector Bellerin a breather. Since his return from injury, Bellerin hasn’t been the same player that was awesome in every sense of the word but he has done well to pick up where he left off, and that performance against Sunderland in the FA Cup third round was out of the top drawer. On the other flank, I expect Kieran Gibbs to get the nod ahead of Nacho Monreal and he has proven himself to be a good deputy.
In the central defensive pairing, Per Mertesacker’s red card has obviously paved the way for Gabriel Paulista but I would like Calum Chambers to start alongside the Brazilian today. This game would be very memorable for Chambers, as it remains the only game he registered his first goal for the Gunners.
In midfield, I expect Elneny to make his debut and it’s going to be interesting to see where he plays. Elneny offers a presence in the holding and box-to-box role and with Coquelin fit again, I wonder what the boss has in store for us. I expect Mikel Arteta to get a run out alongside Elneny and that would be nice. The offensive midfield role would go to Tomas Rosicky that would want to make up for lost time, as he was out on the sidelines for quite some time.
Alex Iwobi is another lad that is in need of minutes and he would want to stake a claim for a first team berth with another good performance today. Another player that is eager to impress is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, that has had a hot and cold campaign thus far. Walcott would line the line.
There goes my predicted starting XI
Ospina; Debuchy-Chambers-Paulista-Gibbs; Elneny-Rosicky-Arteta; Iwobi-Walcott-Ox
Here’s to a good game of football