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Picking an Arsenal Starting XI to Include Van Persie, Cazorla and Sahin

Max TowleAnalyst IAugust 3, 2012

BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 27: Team of Arsenal FC line up for a team photograph before during the pre-season Asian Tour friendly match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Birds Nest Stadium on July 27, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

With the future of Arsenal's wantaway striker, Robin van Persie, looking less than assured at this current point of time, it would be worth considering exactly how he would fit into Arsene Wenger's starting team were he to stay.

Or rather, how would the team fit around him?

This speculation piece will also assume that the Gunners wrap up the signings of Spanish attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla and Turkish playmaker Nuri Sahin before the league campaign gets underway on August 18.

So, with Wojciech Szczesny in goal, let's get to the outfield.

Defence

The defence rather picks itself, with the young Englishman Kieran Gibbs picked at left-back and Bacary Sagna at right-back.

Both will be required to push forward when the appropriate time comes to supplement the wingers in advanced positions.

In the middle is current club vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen, who is paired with the ever-improving Laurent Koscielny, who had overcome a difficult first season in North London to become arguably their most reliable central defender.

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Midfield

The midfield will essentially become a 2-3 formation, with both Nuri Sahin and Mikel Arteta sitting deep.

Arteta gets the nod over Alex Song despite the Cameroonian's excellent form last season due to ongoing speculation over his future (plus the fact that I'd be loathed to leave out the genius of Mikel Arteta).

With the inclusion of Robin van Persie, it would be difficult to imagine a team where he is not the focal point in its attack, consequently pushing new signing Lukas Podolski into a slightly more wide position, and Olivier Giroud to the bench.

Gervinho also misses out despite his good preseason form, as Theo Walcott will be given a chance to prove his worth on the right-hand side behind the Dutchman.

Arsenal fans will be hoping this is the season that Walcott finally "comes good," or, more to the point, is consistent over the course of all 38 games.

Cazorla sits behind the striker in an attacking midfield role, as he has previously proven capable of doing so in Spain.

His role will be that of the trequartista—in distributing the ball out wide as well as putting it through to RVP.

When Jack Wilshere is fit, I would prefer to see him back in the midfield alongside Arteta, although he is equally capable of playing in Cazorla's position.

Youngsters Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi should also see some playing time on either flank throughout the season.

Attack

In assuming that van Persie remains at Arsenal this season, as noted before, there can only be one position for him to play—that of sole striker.

His goalscoring feats may not be needed to be equalled with the additions of Giroud and Podolski, but he will still be required to lead the team from the front.

Whether or not he leads the team as captain is another question.

What do you think? Who should line-up behind RVP if he does decided to remain at the club?

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