English Premier League: Predicting the Arsenal Starting XI Against Liverpool

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English Premier League: Predicting the Arsenal Starting XI Against Liverpool
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Arsenal registered their first win of the 2011-12 season with a tough 1-0 victory over Italian giants Udinese in the UEFA Champions League qualification play off. The victory followed a goalless stalemate with Newcastle United on the opening day of the English Premier League season.

However, the Gunners will face their toughest task yet, encountering summer's big spenders Liverpool at the Emirates.

The Reds spent an estimated £105 million on the likes of young star Jordan Henderson, Scotland international Charlie Adam, Brazilian keeper Alexander Doni, left back Jose Henrique and England winger Stewart Downing.

Kenny Dalgish has sent a prominent message of intent for Liverpool's ambitions in 2011-12, however, the Scot was unable to secure a win on the opening day, drawing with Sunderland.

Arsenal have not conveyed an impressive approach yet have evoked mass promise. The Gunners were able to secure victory mid-week despite being under strength and performing feebly, a trait Wenger's men have been unable to master.

It is the hallmark of a strong side and the Gunners are only destined to improve and coupled with the potential enforcement of new signings, Arsenal could become title challengers.

However, it will be a tough task attempting to contain an eager Liverpool squad who are boasting with depth and calibre. Arsenal have some task internal issues to overcome but these to English giants always create exciting, thrilling, controversial and goal fuelled encounters.

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Let's predict the Arsenal starting XI.

 

Goalkeeper

Polish youngster Wojciech Szczesny has been highly impressive in Arsenal's opening two encounters with the 21-year-old yet to concede. Szczesny has evoked composure and confidence and Wenger has no reason to demote the Polan international. This ensures countryman Lukasz Fabianski will continue to deputize Szczesny as youngster Vito Mannone continues to perform in the reserves.

Mannone is on the look out for a loan spell with Serie A and Championship sides eager to acquire the 23-year-old. Meanwhile, veteran Manuel Almunia is still yet to acquire a club with the Spaniard eager to depart the Emirates. England youth James Shea is currently on loan with League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge.

 

Defenders

Wenger will be eager to publish his strongest defensive line up but may encounter some injury concerns. Nonetheless renowned right back Bacary Sagna is fit and firing and is a certain starter. Imposing Swiss Johan Djourou succumbed to a hamstring injury against Udinese mid-week despite only playing nine minutes in the second half.

This ensures the continuation of Frenchman Laurent Koscielny and defensive leader Thomas Vermaelen in the centre. The duo have in the midst of forming a tough and strong partnership.

Unfortunately, England international Kieran Gibbs has suffered a hamstring injury against Udinese and will miss the clash ensuring French youngster Armand Traore should make his first Arsenal appearance of the season and the 22-year-old's first since 2010.

Carl Jenkinson made his Arsenal debut mid week but is unlikely to feature and will settle for a role on the bench. Veteran Sebastien Squillaci is set to secure a place on the substitutes due to Djourou's concerns whilst Ivorian utility Emmanuel Eboue has departed to Turkish giants Galatasaray for £3.5 million.

 

Midfielders

Cesc Fabregas finally completed his inevitable move to Barcelona for £35 million, however the former captain was never expected to feature for Arsenal this season. Unfortunately for Wenger, teenage sensation Jack Wilshere is yet to overcome a precarious ankle injury sustained in preseason and will miss the clash.

However, Wales captain, who has been impressive in the opening two games despite leaving a few aspects to be desired, Aaron Ramsey will continue in Cesc Fabregas role as confidence begins to mount. Unfortunately, there is a big blow for Arsenal with the FA handing renowned defensive midfielder Alexandre Song a three match ban for a stamp on Joey Barton during the Newcastle match.

This is a huge blow for the Gunners' however the Cameroon international is set to be revived by teenager Emmanuel Frimpong. The Ghanian has been impressive during the Arsenal preseason and made his debut as a substitute against Udinese.

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Cutting Edge: Emmanuel Frimpong should make his first start for Arsenal

Tomas Rosicky is the favourite to make up the three man midfielder despite the Czech play maker enduring disappointing performances in the opening two games. Imposing Frenchman Abou Diaby is still absent with an ankle injury whilst Denilson is on loan in the Brazilian league with Sao Paulo.

Promising young gun Henri Lansbury will contents for a starting midfield role but lack of experience should see the Englishman take a place on the Arsenal bench.

 

Forwards

Arsenal will be boosted by the return of captain Robin van Persie, who was suspended against Udinese from an incident last season against Barcelona. The Dutchman will take on the lone striker role with Moroccan Marouane Chamakh demoted to the bench.

The hero from the Udinese victory, Theo Walcott, will start on the right wing, however, marquee summer signing Gervinho is enduring a three-match ban after lashing out at Joey Barton during his debut against Newcastle. Russian dynamo Andrei Arshavin will start on the left.

Teenage wingers Ryo Miyaichi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who are touted as future superstars, will both receive places on the Arsenal bench. Mexican Carlos Vela has joined La Liga side Real Sociedad for the season whilst their is rumours disgruntled striker Nicklas Bendtner could feature from the bench despite his eagerness to depart the Emirates.

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French dynamo Samir Nasri is set to complete his £23 million move to Manchester City before the Liverpool encounter.

 

Susbtitutes

Injuries and suspension have tainted the Arsenal squad, but Wenger is still capable of fulfilling a strong bench. Lukasz Fabianski will be the deputy keeper whilst Sebastien Squillaci and Carl Jenkinson are emergency defenders.

Henri Lansbury is the lone midfielder with Ryo Miyaichi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain possible impact substitutions. Marouane Chamakh is the back up striker and fans must not rule out the possibility of Nicklas Bendtner appearing.

The highlight of the Premier League matches, Arsenal and Liverpool are destined to produce another thriller.

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