Thursday 25 December 2014

Ahead of the Community Shield, our Arsenal/Man City Dream Team

Darragh Collins

Published 06/08/2014 | 13:10

Yaya toure and David Silva make our Arsenal/Manchester City Dream Team
Yaya toure and David Silva make our Arsenal/Manchester City Dream Team

The season’s curtain raiser takes place this weekend at Wembley as FA Cup winners Arsenal face Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield. We take a look at a possible dream team.

Goalkeeper

JOE HART

Despite a difficult start to last season, Hart remains one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and gets the nod ahead of Wojciech Szczesny.

1. Who will win the battle of the Arsenal strikers?
 While Arsene Wenger longed for more options upfront last season, the Arsenal manager now has a plethora of candidates fighting for a starting role. Olivier Giroud is currently the man in possession, but the Frenchman may not have regained fitness in time for Sunday's match. In his absence Wenger could decide to employ new signing Alexis Sanchez in a forward role (more of that later) or he could plump for either Yaya Sanogo, who scored four goals in a pre-season win over Benfica last week, or Joel Campbell.
1. Who will win the battle of the Arsenal strikers? While Arsene Wenger longed for more options upfront last season, the Arsenal manager now has a plethora of candidates fighting for a starting role. Olivier Giroud is currently the man in possession, but the Frenchman may not have regained fitness in time for Sunday's match. In his absence Wenger could decide to employ new signing Alexis Sanchez in a forward role (more of that later) or he could plump for either Yaya Sanogo, who scored four goals in a pre-season win over Benfica last week, or Joel Campbell.
2. Where will Alexis Sanchez be deployed? Much will be expected of £35m signing Sanchez, but the key question is how Wenger plans to use him. The former Barcelona man has often been used as a winger throughout his career and he may well start in that position in the absence of the injured Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. However, Wenger could also choose to deploy Sanchez through the middle after last week saying: "He is a striker and he's a good finisher."
3. Will Calum Chambers be worth his £16million fee? The former Southampton man did not ask Arsenal to shell out such a huge amount of cash for him, but whether he likes it or not he will now have to show he was worth it. The 19-year-old showed his ability at right-back last season although he lost his place in the side by the end of the campaign. In the absence of Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen, Chambers was employed in central defence in the pre-season defeat against Monaco. He is more likely to play at full-back this season though, although Wenger last week said: "He can play as well central midfield because he’s got good technique, good mobility and is a great distance runner."
4. How will Arsenal fans react to Bacary Sagna? Arsenal were prepared to pay Sagna £70,000 per week, but the France international rejected the offer and moved to Manchester City instead, where he now earns around £120,000 a week. Explaining his reasons for leaving London, he said: "For people who think it’s for money, it’s not. I just wanted to change. I needed a boost in my career and I think it was about time." Arsenal supporters are unlikely to see his departure in such a manner.
5. Will Frank Lampard make his Manchester City debut? This time last year no one would have predicted Lampard playing for Manchester City this season. After being ditched by Chelsea and joining New York City - who are part-owned by Manchester City - last month, he has now returned to England to play on loan at City until January. One person who is not a fan of the situation is Wenger, who questioned: "Is it a way to get around the fair play? I don't know. It looks like all of these 'City' clubs will feed the main club Manchester City." Lampard could make his first appearance for his new club at Wembley.
6. Can Stevan Jovetic finally prove his worth in the absence of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo? Montenegro forward Jovetic was hampered by illness and injury during his first season at Manchester City after joining from Fiorentina for £22million last summer. With first choice forwards Aguero and Negredo injured, Jovetic has been in prolific goalscoring form in pre-season, making it four goals in two games in the International Champions Cup. Those perfomances prompted Manuel Pellegrini to say: "I'm sure if he continues in this way he will show why he is here. If he's fit all the year, he will be a very important player for us."
7. Will off-field issues affect Yaya Toure on the pitch? No one really knows the full details of what went on with Toure and Manchester City this summer. The midfielder had a turbulent few months after his younger brother died, looking certain to leave City after a series of bizarre rows when he accused them of disrespecting him on his birthday and complaining about being denied time to spend with his dying brother. However, Toure now insists he is focused on playing for the club. "It was not a case of me wanting to leave the club. I stayed quiet, I believe that is the right way, and at the end of the day it’s my decision," he said. "I will stay at Man City for as long as possible."
8. How will new Manchester City signing Fernando fit in? With Fernandinho not yet back from his post-World Cup holiday, the role of holding midfielder may well fall to new signing Fernando. Javi Garcia was sometimes called upon to play in that position last season, but former Porto man Fernando is a step up in class and may make his competitive debut for City in Sunday's match.
9. Can Jack Wilshere show he has come of age? England midfielder Wilshere has made headlines for the wrong reasons this summer after being pictured partying and smoking in Las Vegas. Having burst onto the scene as a teenager, Wilshere has suffered numerous injury setbacks, including a broken foot last season, and now faces a potentially career-defining campaign. "This is a big season for Jack but he is in his best pre-season shape for three years," said his manager Arsene Wenger.
10. Can Arsenal hack it with the best teams in England? Last season Arsenal conceded six goals away from home against Manchester City, five goals at Liverpool and six goals at Chelsea yet still managed to finish fourth. Sunday will have no bearing on the Premier League, but Arsene Wenger will be keen to send a message to their title rivals that Arsenal mean business this season and will not be pushed over so easily.

Defenders

PABLO ZABALETA

The most consistent full back in the Premier League, the Argentine walks onto this team. Ironically his closest Arsenal challenger Bacary Sagna has now joined the City ranks.

LAURENT KOSCIELNY

Quick, strong and comfortable playing the ball out of defence, Koscienly is a great example of the modern day centre half. Last year was easily his best in an Arsenal shirt.

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VINCENT KOMPANY

The City skipper has proven himself as a world class defender and his aggression, combative style and leadership qualities would complement Koscielny at the heart of the defence.

MATHIEU DEBUCHY

The new Arsenal man just about nudges ahead of Aleksander Kolarov and Gael Clichy for his all-round game, with City boss Manuel Pellegrini often chopping and changing the two left-backs. The Frenchman has gone from strength to strength since he first burst onto the scene at Euro 2012 aged 27 and his form earned him a move to Arsenal.

Midfielders

THEO WALCOTT

Question marks will remain over his final option on the ball – Chris Waddle famously labelled Walcott as ‘brainless’ – but his true value is revealed when absent from the Arsenal team.

Causes concerns for opposition defence with his direct running and is one of the few sources of pace in the Gunner’s midfield. The Englishman just about nudges his way in ahead of Jesus Navas and James Milner for his greater goal scoring threat.

YAYA TOURE

Unlikely to be many arguments over this selection. He may get upset over people forgetting his birthday, but the Ivory Coast international is one of the most powerful, eye-catching and effective players in the Premier League.

AARON RAMSEY

The Welshman put injury problems behind him to put in some outstanding performances for the Gunners last term. Ramsey scored 10 goals and made a further eight assists in his 20 starts in an Arsenal shirt last term, making him become one of the most important players at the club. The 23-year old has done well to make it on this team with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Fernandinho missing out, but if he can avoid injury Arsenal will reap the benefits of the former Cardiff City player.

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DAVID SILVA

The Spaniard will be raring to go this season after a horrible World Cup. Silva is an extremely gifted player who can open any team up with his amazing vision and passing.

A real jewel in the City crown.

Forwards

SERGIO AGUERO

The Argentine striker was prolific for Man city last season with 17 goals in 20 starts despite niggling injury problems. He has proven time and time again to be a clinical striker and in a squad full of stars is an undoubted match-winner.

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ALEXIS SANCHEZ

The new man at the Emirates, Sanchez has the potential to become the star of the Premier League this season after a very strong World Cup.

Last week’s man-of-the-match debut in the pre-season encounter with Monaco will have pleased Arsenal supporters and all eyes will be on him at Wembley as the most expensive signing of the summer thus far.

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