While it still may be early in the season the Wenger out crowd have already been making themselves heard around north London, and following the midweek Champions League loss to Greek side Olympiacos the Frenchman could certainly use a win this afternoon against Manchester United.
United travel south today on the back of a string of victories including Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over Bundesliga runners up Wolfsburg that has manager Louis van Gaal confident that his team can come away from the Emirates with all three points, and if history is anything to go by he could very well be right with the Gunners winning just one of their last 13 games against the Red Devils.
Summer signing Petr Cech will be in nets once more after being rested on Tuesday and will be hoping to provide a safer pair of hands than No.2 David Ospina possessed against the Greeks, where a gaff led to one of the visitors goals.
Some worrying news for Arsenal is that star defender Laurent Koscielny is missing with an injured hamstring that could keep him out for the next three weeks, opening the door for Gabriel to return following his one match suspension to partner Per Mertesacker at the heart of Arsenals defence. Out on the wings will be Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal who both now seem to be established as Wenger’s preferred choice at right and left back.
Both Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini have been rules out through injury, but Francis Coquelin should be okay despite recent troubles with his knee. Cazorla will continue in his role of midfield general with Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey playing wide leaving Mesut Ozil again at number 10 playing behind Theo Walcott. Ozil was very disappointing midweek and back to his old ways of not putting in the work when it came to tracking back, but hopefully Wenger will have had a word with the German and we will see a better performance this afternoon.
Theo Walcott looks set to get the start over the misfiring Olivier Giroud, with the Englishman keen to prove to Arsene Wenger that it is him who should be wearing the number nine jersey each week. Having started up-front five times out of the past six games this afternoons match provides the 26-year-old with the opportunity to show Wenger that he was right not to sign a top striker over the summer.
This could very well be the match that shows us whether or not we can consider Arsenal to be contenders for the title or not, a huge game in which all the players will be called on to perform.
Predicted XI: Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Monreal; Cazorla, Coquelin; Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey; Walcott.