Arsenal's selection dilemma ahead of the Community Shield - who should start?

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Arsenal have enjoyed an almost perfect pre-season so far, Arsene Wenger's side have won their four friendly fixtures, not suffering any major injuries and, most importantly, playing with an encouraging sense of cohesion. 

Now though, matters will step up a further gear with Wenger currently preparing his side to face Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.

Some onlookers may view this fixture as a glorified friendly, but there is still a trophy at stake and there is also a presentable opportunity for Wenger to finally gain a victory over Mourinho.


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Arsenal have the majority of their squad available, other than Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky, who are the only players currently sidelined and Alexis Sanchez, who isn't due back in training until next week. 

That means Wenger will face some difficult decisions when it comes to naming his side for the fixture at Wembley.

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Firstly, at right-back Wenger must decide between Hector Bellerin and Mathieu Debuchy. The Spaniard enjoyed a tremendous breakthrough campaign last year and deserves to keep his place, but there is a feeling Wenger will elect to deploy the more experienced Debuchy as his first-choice in this position.

Nacho Monreal should keep his place ahead of Kieran Gibbs at left-back, but this is another position that is set to be closely contested throughout the season.



The partnership of Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla was a major factor behind Arsenal's upturn in form in the second half of last season and Wenger will be reluctant to break that connection up.

Further forwards, though, things start to get a little more complicated.but there is considerable competition for places in the wide positions. 

Ordinarily, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has enjoyed an impressive pre-season, would be a near-certainty to start on the right wing, but at Arsenal the picture is clouded somewhat by the fact that central-midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere have often been used out wide in recent times in order to fit them into the team.

Both Ramsey and Wilshere prefer to play centrally, but, at present, they are struggling to hold down a regular place in their chosen position given the presence of Cazorla and Mesut Ozil. Based on Wenger's selections last season, it seems most likely that Ramsey will be chosen from the offset against Chelsea.

The absence of Sanchez opens up a void on the left flank, and again there is no shortage of candidates. Oxlade-Chamberlain can operate just as effectively on the left wing as he does on the right, but Wenger spoke recently about Theo Walcott being able to have an impact from the left flank and that is something that we may well see against Chelsea.

Olivier Giroud is likely to remain as Arsenal's first-choice striker unless a new signing is made. With all the above points considered, my Arsenal side to face Chelsea at Wembley would be:

Cech; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott; Giroud.

It is, though, almost impossible to predict exactly what team Wenger will select. When Sanchez and Welbeck return, the Frenchman's selection headache will only intensify.

That, though, is a very good problem to have, and is certainly preferable to the situations that have occurred in recent years when Arsenal have often been short of players in key positions at crucial points in the campaign.


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