Arsenal wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a morale-boosting 3-2 win over formidable Manchester City managed by Pep Guardiola. Unfortunately for the Gunners, the victory was soured by an injury to Gabriel in the latter stages which saw him stretchered off. Arsene will be sweating over the defensive line-up he will be putting out against Liverpool in a week’s time with Koscielny not up to match speed and Mertesacker out injured. This leaves the Frenchman with Rob Holding as the only recognized centre-back but the player’s inexperience and the fact he will be making his debut might put Wenger off from throwing him into the deep end.
Giroud and Ozil will also be missing the match after their exertions in the Euros where they progressed to the latter stages with France and Germany respectively. With Liverpool impressing in pre-season, some of the Gooners will be wary of their threat. Considering the injuries at the back, here’s how the makeshift Gunners team might look come this weekend.
Arsene Wenger will most likely roll-out a 4-2-3-1 formation and there will be marked change in personnel with the injuries and absentees he has to deal with.
PETR CECH (GK)- The former Chelsea man will plant his reliable frame in between the posts and Wenger will hope the experienced campaigner is able to marshall the defence against the formidable Liverpool come next week.
HECTOR BELLERIN (RB) – The impressive Spaniard shrugged off claims linking him to City and will look to continue his good form. His pace will be useful against Liverpool’s speedy attacking line-up and his willingness to join in attack as well as diligently track back will be a major plus point.
CALUM CHAMBERS (RCB) – The former Southampton player will hope for more game time this season after playing bit-part roles since his move to the Emirates. He will likely be preferred to the newcomer Rob Holding as the pressure of an opening match against Liverpool alongside a makeshift defence might prove to be overbearing for the 20-year old.
NACHO MONREAL (LCB) – The Spaniard can play as a left-sided centre-back and will look to carry his good form into the new season. His pace and positioning sense will be useful against the trickery of Mane and Firmino.
KIERAN GIBBS (LB) – The English international lost his starting place to Monreal last season and will hope to make a good impression if given the opportunity.
GRANIT XHAKA (CDM) – The feisty Swiss international will look to endear himself to the home fans by putting in a good shift in the middle of the park.
FRANCIS COQUELIN (CDM) – Coquelin has been impressive whenever he has been called upon and Wenger will look to give added protection to his back four hence opening an opportunity for the Frenchman to get a game.
OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN (RAM) – Wenger has labelled this season as an important one for the youngster who needs to build on his potential. He will look to provide an early spark for the home team.
ALEXIS SANCHEZ (LAM) – The Chilean is eager to hit the ground running after winning the Copa America and his work-rate and his willingness to help out in defence will be invaluable for the team.
AARON RAMSEY (CAM) – Coming off an impressive Euros, Ramsey will get a chance to play in his preferred position in the absence of Ozil.
THEO WALCOTT (ST) – The agile winger has been deployed as a striker before and after an impressive match against Manchester City will hope to continue his momentum.
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