24-year-old dropped in four changes: Arsenal best possible XI to face Middlesbrough
COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka should be one of four changes made to the side on Monday night against Middlesbrough.
The Gunners travel to the Riverside Stadium for a must-win game and the 24-year-old should be one of the casualties.
Arsene Wenger’s side need three points to keep their top-four hopes alive and could do with a good performance too following the 3-0 embarrassment at Crystal Palace.
Emiliano Martinez and Gabriel should drop out of the side, with Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny returning if they are passed fully fit from their injuries.
Meanwhile, Xhaka and Welbeck should be dropped and replaced by Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsenal need to be offensive on Monday and Ramsey can offer a greater threat going forward than Xhaka, 24, who should be benched until he can match his £30million price tag.
Arsenal should field their best defensive backline if their two senior players overcome their injuries, with centre-back pairing Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi playing in front of goalkeeper Cech.
That will leave Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin as the two full-backs who can look to push forward against Boro.
Mohamed Elneny should retain his place as the defensive midfielder and have box-to-box Welshman Ramsey alongside him, who does have talent despite his inconsistent performances this season.
Xhaka has come under some severe criticism this season and some of it has been harsh considering it’s his first experience of English football, but his standards have not been good enough .
Wener should also alter his attacking line-up and withdraw Welbeck from the team, who was very quiet and ineffective against Boro.
They need to stick their talisman Alexis Sanchez up front and get their best player on the ball as much as they can.
That leaves Oxlade-Chamberlain to do the role in the wide position, while Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott will need improved performances.
In other Arsenal team news, Harry Redknapp has delivered a scathing verdict on the club’s squad.