In some ways it has been a typical international break for Arsenal, with two of our best players coming back from their various countries carrying injuries that could harm the Gunners’ chances. It could be worse, because neither Mesut Ozil or Aaron Ramsey are thought to have long term problems.
But with all the problems Arsene Wenger had to cope with on the injury front last season, I expect the Frenchman to be cautious and so would not be surprised to see the German and the Welshman miss the home game against Man City on Saturday. In which case, what will be the Arsenal starting XI to face the champions?
Hopefully we will have Kieran Gibbs available again after his own injury, but I am not sure that I would put him straight back in because Nacho Monreal has settled again and is perhaps better defensively. However, with a trip to Dortmund on Tuesday, I might save the Spaniard for that. The rest of the back four is fairly easy.
Then I would assume that Jack Wilshere is a like of like replacement for Ramsey. Arteta should be fit again and although I am tempted to go for the tougher tackling Flamini, I think the Spaniard controls the midfield better and helps us more going forward.
I would bring Cazorla into the number 10 role and would love to see Joel Campbell get a chance on the left, with Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez, but I reckon that Wenger will go for the more experienced Podolski. Unless again we save the German striker for the big game in Dortmund. So here is my starting XI for Man City.
Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla
Alexis, Welbeck, Podolski
What do you think?