The big question on my mind now is how do we replace Laurent Koscielny for our opening game of the new season against Crystal Palace? The Frenchman picked up an Achilles problem and now is doubtful, so who steps in?
1. My preference would be to throw Iggy Miguel in. I've got a lot of faith in him and I think he deserves a chance. He hasn't looked that solid defensively in pre-season, although he's gone close to scoring at the other end. I'll be surprised if he plays from the start.
2. Per Mertesacker. Wenger categorically said the Germans wouldn't play, but needs must, right? Erm, no. Le boss is not for turning!
3. A new signing: eg Mats Hummels or Benedikt Howedes. Even if they did sign, they'd also need a holiday after their World Cup exertions.
4. Another new signing: Kostas Manolas. Would he get thrown into the deep end if he signed? Maybe. Can we cut a deal that quickly? No. It'll be 31st before we bring in a Vermaelen replacement, if at all.
5. Nacho Monreal. I think this will be Wenger's choice. Last year, Sagna played centre back during some of the friendlies and this year the same honour has been bestowed on the Spaniard (who hasn't looked as accomplished as the Frenchman, yet). However, I think Wenger will persevere with his experiment.
If Wenger does go with a centre back pairing of Chambers and Monreal, I'll be very surprised if we keep our goal intact against Palace. Eagles boss Tony Pulis will get his players to target Chambers' inexperience and Monreal's awkwardness in that position. I can just imagine them launching high balls to former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh, with him heading them onto another ex-Gunner Dwight Gayle. It could be a double curse of the ex!
Additionally, Palace keeper Julian Speroni appears to be in excellent form judging by his performance in their recent friendly.
In fact, I think this next game will be a lot tougher than the cakewalk against City. We must not forget that this is a local 'derby' and we need to be at the top of our game to beat them.
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