There’s very little going on today. Actually, apart from the news that Robin van Persie is in contract talks and the revelation that Theo Walcott didn’t actually want the #14 shirt there’s absolutely nothing going on.
Now, there’s not much I can say about those two stories so I thought I’d run through the squad and name the team (including substitutes) that I will be hoping starts the first match of the season. In other words, the strongest Arsenal side that is currently available. So here it is:
Bacary Sagna Kolo Toure William Gallas (C) Gael Clichy
Theo Walcott Abou Diaby Cesc Fabregas Samir Nasri
Robin van Persie Emmanuel Adebayor
Subtitutes (7): Lukasz Fabianski, Johan Djourou, Alex Song, Denilson, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner.
As the title of my post says, this is the side that I would play for the first game of the season based on fitness and form. I think most people will agree with the bulk of the picks – with the most contentious areas likely to be the left and right wing and the second central-midfield slot next to Cesc Fabregas.
I’ve gone with Theo Walcott on the right because I think he’s ready to make an impact this season and he’s looked promising in pre-season thus far. Samir Nasri should start on the left simply because he was brought in to replace Alex Hleb and should be up to it.
As for the defensive midfield slot, I’ve gone for Abou Diaby over the likes of Denilson and Alex Song because he has more experience and physical presence and tends to use the ball better as well. Ideally I would like to see someone else come in to provide competition in this position but if this is how the squad looks when the transfer window slams shut then I think Diaby is the best fit.
When looking at the bench I’ve gone for players to cover a range of different positions. I still see Johan Djourou as a better player than Philippe Senderos while Song can play anywhere across the back and in midfield. Denilson is a sure thing while selecting Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner and the precocious Jack Wilshere gives a huge amount of variety in attack.
As for the players that are currently out of action, I don’t think too many people will argue that both Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo will push very hard for a starting spot once they return to fitness. Their inevitable returns should ensure the likes of Walcott and Nasri as well as Adebayor and van Persie are well and truly on their toes throughout the early part of the season. Indeed, any consistently weak performances and they may find themselves benched.
So that’s about it. I think it’s a pretty good side – what do you think? Would you change anything? Let me know.
And of course – have a great weekend!
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