COMMENT By Tony Hughes
Arsenal have steadily recovered from their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on the opening day of the season but a string of solid results is unlikely to stop Arsene Wenger ringing the changes at the weekend.
The Gunners came from behind to secure a creditable 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night and some of the starters in France are likely to make way for fresher players in Saturday’s Premier League clash against Hull.
Wenger has rotated his central midfielders this season and could once again make changes in that area by breaking up his favoured partnership of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin.
The duo have started the last two Arsenal matches and could be rested at Humberside in favour of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, who were both brought off the bench late on against PSG.
Petr Cech and Theo Walcott could also be recalled to the starting XI after missing out against the French champions.
Cech was demoted to the bench in favour of his deputy David Ospina, who responded to the surprise call-up with an outstanding display that ensured his team returned to England with a valuable point.
Walcott missed out due to a minor injury that Wenger insisted was not serious and he is likely to come into the reckoning for a fifth consecutive Premier League start.
That would mean one of the two Alex’s missing out and the most likely fall guy is Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has showed glimpses of form this season but is still searching for that elusive consistency.
The availability of Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez, the two authentic Arsenal spearheads, does not necessarily mean either will lead the attack against Mike Phelan’s team.
Alexis Sanchez has taken on the central striker role for four of the team’s five matches this season and his mobility, touch and inventiveness could mean Wenger sticks with him for a clash in which slick counter-attacks are likely to be key to Arsenal’s chances of a win.
New signing Shkodran Mustafi is likely to once against partner Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the Arsenal defence despite the German’s poor display against PSG.
Wenger rarely rotates his defenders in the early months of the season, which means consistent duo Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal are likely to retain their starting places for the weekend’s fixture,.
In other Arsenal team news, Wenger is ready to let this young star out on loan to get more first-team football.