Wednesday 22 November 2017

Is this how Arsenal will line up next season?

With major new arrivals expected this summer, we look at the fantasy XI Arsene Wenger could select for the Community Shield against Chelsea in August.

Petr Cech

The former Chelsea goalkeeper has completed his £11million move to the Emirates, and represents a major upgrade on last season's No 1 David Ospina.

Hector Bellerin

Arsenal are currently flush with right-backs - Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson would get into most Premier League sides - but Bellerin's outstanding form in the second half of last season makes him tough to drop.

Per Mertesacker believes Arsenal can secure a positive end to the Premier League campaign

Per Mertesacker

Gabriel will hope for more game time next season, but vice-captain Mertesacker will start next season as first-choice, fitness permitting.

Laurent Koscielny

Real Madrid are interested in the centre-back but he signed a new contract last year to stay at Arsenal until 2018 and is highly valued at the club.

Nacho Monreal

Was probably Arsenal's most improved player last season after displacing Kieran Gibbs, and is fully established now as Wenger's preferred option at left-back.

Midfield general: Morgan Schneiderlin's move to Manchester United is expected to be completed soon

Morgan Schneiderlin

If the Frenchman joins from Southampton, instead of going to Manchester United, he can expect a starting berth. That may seem harsh on the excellent Francis Coquelin, but if Wenger is to part with more than £20 million for the midfielder, he's unlikely to put Schneiderlin on the bench too often.

Santi Cazorla

Arguably Arsenal's player of the season last term, Cazorla was a revelation in central midfield, and should fend off considerable competition to retain that position at the start of next season.

Mesut Ozil

A much improved campaign last year after a mixed debut season, not to mention a £42.5m price tag, means the mercurial German will start against Chelsea in his preferred No 10 role.

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez faces a busy summer of international duty with Chile

Alexis Sanchez

An impressive 25 goals and an irrepressible work rate made Sanchez an instant hit with the Emirates faithful last season, who will be hoping the Chilean goes from strength to strength in 2015/16.

Aaron Ramsey

Didn't hit the heights of his breakthrough 2013/14 season last term but still chipped in with 10 goals despite a host of injuries. Will need to hit the ground running after pre-season though, as there are plenty of team-mates eyeing up his position.

Pedro Rodriguez

The most ambitious of Arsene Wenger's summer transfer targets, but if the Barcelona winger was to join there would be no doubting his place in a first-choice team - probably at the expense of The Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Subs bench:

Wojciech Szczesny - David Ospina is expected to leave if Petr Cech arrives.

Gabriel - Getting closer to a starting position, and can expect plenty of game time in the cups.

Francis Coquelin - Will push Schneiderlin hard for a starting place, and could come off the bench to fill in at either full-back position.

Jack Wilshere - Needs to produce more consistently to earn a regular spot in the starting XI, but should still play an important part next season.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - Must stay fit and chip in with more goals and assists if he's to claim one of the hugely competitive attacking midfield spots.

Danny Welbeck - Just eight goals in his first season at the Emirates has lef Welbeck in a primarily super-sub role.

Olivier Giroud - Will be eager to re-establish himself as Wenger's first-choice striker after seeing Walcott emerge as a credible striker at the end of the season.

That leaves...

Theo Walcott, Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson, Mikel Arteta, Krystian Bielik, Gedion Zelalem, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky, Serge Gnabry, Lukas Podolski, Joel Campbell, and Chuba Akpom.

Fair to say Wenger has plenty of options as he ponders his plans for next season...

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