Football

Arsenal predicted XI v Manchester United

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Arsene Wenger has been able to blame significant injury problems on Arsenal's poor form of late, but on Saturday he welcomes a Manchester United squad even more depleted by afflictions.

While Arsenal's job has been made significantly easier by the current injury problems at Old Trafford, Wenger will still have to manage a mishmash of defenders for the Premier League clash.

The Gunners have conceded five goals in their last two games – three against Anderlecht and two against Swansea – and far too many of them can be linked back to the struggling Nacho Monreal.

Monreal to be dropped?

The left-back was given encouragement by Wenger at the start of the season that he could thrive at centre-back if required. With Laurent Koscielny suffering from chronic tendonitis in his Achilles, it was inevitable that we would find out if the five foot eight inch Spain international could.

He can't.

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That is no surprise to anyone with working eyes. The most surprising thing is that Wenger seems insistent on giving Monreal every opportunity to prove critics wrong. That comes at the expense of Hector Bellerin, who impressed on his debut against Borussia Dortmund, and Calum Chambers, who is playing at right-back instead of centre-back where he looks strongest.

Time for change

That has to change against Manchester United where the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Angel di Maria will be licking their lips at the prospect of running Monreal raged the way Portsmouth flop Anthony Vanden Borre and Swansea substitute Bafetimbi Gomis did.

Playing Bellerin will allow Arsenal chance to press higher as his rapid pace can cover inevitable breaks. Chambers, at centre-back, will be better able to clear a torrent of crosses that come in from Di Maria. It makes sense to everyone around the Emirates pitch but the dugout.

Predicted Arsenal XI

Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Chambers, Gibbs, Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey, Sanchez, Welbeck

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Topics:
Arsenal
Premier League
Nacho Monreal
Football

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