Arsenal’s strongest possible starting XI for the 2016/17 season

Arsene Wenger

It’s certainly going to be a very exciting, and simultaneously a very tough season in English football. This season could be Arsene Wenger’s last chance to get to the title that has evaded him for so many years now. We might see the London club land one or two players before the transfer window ends, but at the moment, this is the club’s strongest eleven for the coming campaign.

Petr Cech: The former Chelsea keeper enjoyed an absolutely brilliant season between the posts proving why Arsenal snapped him up. The former Czech Republic international will be Arsenal’s first choice keeper for this season as well.

Hector Bellerin: Bellerin is now firmly established as first choice in that position. 31-year-old Debuchy clearly doesn’t have too many years left at the top level, and it is likely that he will either be shipped out, or have to be satisfied with sporadic minutes on the pitch. Calum Chambers is the other option for the spot but the former Saints player is more likely to get game-time in his natural centre-back position because Bellerin has proved himself and is definitely going to be starting most games.

Gabriel: Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny has been the most stable central defensive partnership in England for the last few years. But with Mertesacker suffering from a bad knee injury, it is unlikely that he will play too many more games in 2016. Gabriel has also proved to be a good centre back to call upon, whenever he was employed last season, and might prove to be a worthy deputy for the German, perhaps even making that claim long-term and making things difficult for Mertesacker when he returns. New signing Rob Holding has looked very promising in the pre-season and might also feature in the absence of Mertesacker. Wenger also has an option in Calum Chambers.

Laurent Koscielny: The Frenchman has been Arsenal’s most consistent player for a significant amount of time. He is also probably one of the league’s most steady player year in, year out. While he will undoubtedly be the first name on the team sheet, it would be reckless to depend on him entirely next season.

Monreal + Chamberlain + Bellerin

Nacho Monreal: Monreal became a major unit of Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal outfit last season, firmly keeping former first choice left back Kieran Gibbs on the sidelines. Not only that, Monreal was arguably the league’s best left-back last season. He will be Wenger’s trusted man for this season as well. 

Granit Xhaka: Granit Xhaka is a very good player who will improve Arsenal’s midfield, adding some physicality, control and authority that have been missing for some time now. Xhaka can fill the holding role that Arsenal have struggled with in recent years, and at the same time, but he is comfortable in playing a more advanced role similar to Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. Therefore, it will depend on what kind of opponents the Gunners will be facing, to see what midfielders Wenger puts out. In a conservative approach, Xhaka might be paired with Francis Coquelin or Mohamed Elneny and in a more attacking approach, he might find himself in a double pivot with a more attack minded midfielder.

Santi Cazorla: With Xhaka in the team, Santi Cazorla is arguably the better choice in the midfield than the more defensive minded Francis Coquelin. The Spaniard has been the brains of this Arsenal team for sometime and despite missing a large chunk of last season, he may have a large say in this season.

Aaron Ramsey injury

Aaron Ramsey: Coming off a brilliant Euro campaign with Wales, the player could even be seen playing a deeper role but if Wenger wants to imitate the Welsh campaign, where Ramsey did so well, he should use him in the attacking role, in one of the attacking roles behind the striker. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has looked good in the pre-season but with Ramsey in great form, the choice for Wenger is straightforward.

Mesut Ozil: The 27-year-old was criticised in the past for not being very consistent but with a stunning 2015/16 campaign in which he set up 19 league goals, he was named in the 2015/16 Premier League PFA Team of the Season. The German is in the prime of his abilities and will play a crucial factor in determining if the title comes to the Emirates.

Alexis Sanchez: Along with Ozil, Sanchez is definitely Arsenal’s most threatening player. However, the Chilean underwent an underwhelming campaign last season and needs to do a lot better this season. Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell are good options for Wenger to have if the former Barcelona man stops performing, but his sheer quality makes him undroppable.


Olivier Giroud: Arsenal have needed another striker for sometime now. Giroud has received a lot of criticism in the past and it is probably true that he can’t be the sole striker for Arsenal in their attempt to lift the title but it is also true that the Frenchman is often severely underrated. Giroud has scored 20 or more goals per season in all competitions for the last five years, yet people still fail to see how valuable Giroud has been to his club. There is no doubt that without Welbeck, and even with him, Wenger should still buy another striker but the Frenchman still remains a quality option to have in the side.


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