Despite the hysteria around the Gunners’ start, which might have come off the rails after a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in August, Arsène Wenger has kept his side on track and they side fifth after seven games.
That four-game winning streak, which includes games in the Carabao Cup and Europa League has gone some way to appeasing disgruntled fans. But Wenger knows full well it will only take one poor result for the public opinion to turn against him.
What won’t be making life any easier for Wenger is the mounting defensive injury crisis on his hands. Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) has been joined in the treatment room by Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) who could be out for six weeks. Calum Chambers (hip) is also out.
That will mean a rare start at centre-back for club captain Per Mertesacker. The German, who is in the final year of his playing career, should start with Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal either side of him.
The other big selection dilemma for Wenger is who will play in support of Alexandre Lacazette. Manchester City transfer target Alexis Sánchez has been on international duty with Chile and could be rested. That could mean Alex Iwobi, who scored Nigeria’s winner against Zambia to secure their place at the World Cup, starting alongside Mesut Özil in the duel No.10 roles.
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