Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wenger to switch Song to defence with Oxlade Chamberlain handed European debut

Arsene Wenger has some tough decisions to make when it comes to his starting 11 for tonight's Champions League Group F clash with Olympiacos.

The Frenchman has nine players out injured and his focus will be set firmly on his defence with four of his five senior defenders out injured.

With Laurent Koscielny joining Johan Djourou, Sebastien Squillaci and long term absentee Thomas Vermaelen in the Londno Colney treatment wing, even opting for youngster Ignasi Miquel is not an option as the 19-year-old is out as well.

So Wenger will probably opt for Alex Song, drafting the Cameroon international into the heart of his defence instead of switching Bacary Sagna from right back into the centre.

In goal, I'd expect Wojciech szczesny to start behind a back four of Sagna - Mertesacker - Song - Gibbs.

If Song is played in defence, Wenger then has options of who will play in the deep lying midfield roles. Francis Coquelin had an excellent game in the Carling Cup and Emmanuel Frimpong has impressed when given the chance.

The other option is to play Tomas Rosicky in a deeper role than he's been seen in this season.

I expect Wenger to go for Frimpong and play him alongside Mikel Arteta.

In front of the midfield, the Arsenal manager has a decisions as to who to play outside Aaron Ramsey who will no doubt continue in his role behind central striker Robin van Persie.

I would think Andrey Arshavin will be handed a start with Gervinho injured. And with Theo Walcott out, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain could come in to make his Champions League debut.

I expect the stating 11 to be:

Szczesny

Sagna - Mertesacker - Song - Gibbs

Frimpong - Arteta

Oxlade Chamberlain - Ramsey - Arshavin

van Persie

Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Santos, Coquelin, Rosicky, Park, Chamakh

I'll post the official line up once it's announced.

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