Arsenal could count themselves somewhat fortunate on Tuesday night as they escaped from the Parc des Princes with a 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain.
The Gunners were on the back foot for much of the game, but a combination of an outstanding performance from replacement goalkeeper Petr Cech and the unbelievable wastefulness of PSG striker Edinson Cavani meant that the home side were unable to put the game beyond doubt despite taking the lead after 42 seconds.
Alexis Sánchez scored with twelve minutes remaining to give Arsenal a share of the points.
The general consensus is that manager Arsene Wenger made a few big errors, despite the result, and that these will need to be rectified for the visit to Hull City on Saturday.
The Tigers are in surprisingly good form this season so victory at the KCOM cannot be taken for granted at all, especially after their own indifferent display against Southampotn last weekend.
Therefore, Wenger really has to go into the match this weekend with his strongest possible side, i.e. nobody gets rested unnecessarily.
So is this the team the manager should field against Hull on Saturday?
Despite the brilliant performance by Ospina in Paris, Cech is the undisputed number one at the Emirates and should (and will) be put back into the starting lineup at the very next opportunity.
Right-Back: Héctor Bellerín
Centre-Back: Shkodran Mustafi
Centre-Back: Laurent Koscielny
Left-Back: Nacho Monreal
The defence picks itself, truth be told. Kosicelny and Mustafi have started the last two matches together and there are strong signs of a partnership forming. Likewise, Bellerín is Arsenal’s first choice right-back and there is no reason to change that.
Left-back, however, could be up for grabs. Kieran Gibbs only has one substitute appearance to his name so far, but Monreal’s performances haven’t been particularly convincing.
Centre Midfield: Granit Xhaka
Centre-Midfield: Santi Cazorla
Wenger seems somewhat reluctant to completely immerse Granit Xhaka fully into the Arsenal midfield just yet, but with Aaron Ramsey still not fully fit, surely the Swiss international has shown enough in his game time so far to have earned a starting spot against Hull.
Cazorla has shown enough quality in the last few games to keep his place in the team, but Coquelin really hasn’t.
Attacking Midfield: Mesut Özil
Again, this position picks itself. Özil hasn’t been at his electrifying best this season, but is still far and away the best player for that number ten role.
Right Wing: Alexis Sánchez
Left Wing: Alex Iwobi
The two wing forwards above are interchangeable (i.e. neither are restricted by which side they start on). The experiment of Alexis as a centre forward hasn’t worked and needs to be put out of its misery, and the return of Giroud can allow for that with the Chilean international returning to a wide role.
Iwobi didn’t have the best of games against PSG on Tuesday, for which he has already apologised, but offers more in the role than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (and Lucas Pérez isn’t ready yet) so should be given another chance.
Striker: Olivier Giroud
Despite the stupid red card late on, Arsenal looked noticeably more organised when they had a focal point in Giroud to aim for. The French international is definitely upgradeable, but right now he’s the best striking option Arsenal have.
Read More About: aaron ransey, alex iwobi, Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, david ospina, Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin, laurent koscielny, lucas perez, mesut ozil, nacho monral, olivier giroud, petr cech, Premier League, santi cazorla, Shkodran Mustafi