Arsenal will face Liverpool on Sunday in the Premier League and as with every other game this season, there are a few ins and outs in the team. Not once have we managed to play what we all see as our first XI this season – we’ve not even managed to do so in defense – and it looks set to continue at Anfield.
From being rested at Stoke to being “out but progressing”, Laurent Koscielny is not having what you may call a steady campaign and has completed just one game in a over three months. It seems more of the recurrence of an old Achilles problem than the calf strain that supposedly kept him away from Newcastle, still depriving us of having the balance and solidity we enjoyed with the Mertesacker-Koscielny partnership of last season. The Frenchman may not return to action this year and that must be the push Wenger needs to go into the winter market for a solid competitive option.
Wenger will have to decide whether it should be Calum Chambers or Nacho Monreal to be Mertesacker’s partner on Sunday, with the Spaniard having “a slight chance”. Monreal has served as one of the make-shift center backs this season in the first periods of Koscielny’s injury and considering Wenger’s previous comments on his preference of using “men” in defence, we could see young Calum Chambers begin his run of games on the bench, even if we believe he is destined for a long-term future as a leader from the middle.
In midfield, there still hangs some doubt about Oxlade-Chamberlain despite allayed fears during the week that his groin injury might be serious. The Ox limped off towards the latter stages of our win over Newcastle, creating great concern as we are now more short in midfield that in any other department in the team. Without Ramsey and Wilshere, the 21-year old has drifted into midfield and has used his energy and pace to push the team forward to very good effect. It’s Wenger’s – and our – hope that he will return, though it will become clearer after a test on Saturday.
Theo Walcott may make an appearance on the bench against the Reds as he strives to fight his way back into the team. The 25-year old has had a rough year with injuries not managing up to a full first half of football since his knee ligaments damage against Tottenham in January. With the Ox now used as a midfielder, it could be the prime time for Walcott to reclaim his place in the forward line of attack, where the prospect of a combination with Alexis and Welbeck presents a devastatingly exciting prospect.
In other good news, Colombian World cup star, David Ospina, has resumed full training after full recovery from his ‘warm-up injury’ sustained after the Champions League match at the Emirates against Galatasaray.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.