Arsenal travel to new-promoted Watford on Saturday beaming with full confidence, following their 3-0 whitewash of Manchester United prior to the international break.
However, Arsenal – as they are known – sometimes put up a lacklustre display against a side one would have thought they would dismantle with ease.
A poor display against a well-organised Watford could produce an embarrassing result for the Gunners which could put the team into disarray, while a brilliant showing against the Hornets would send Arsene Wenger’s side into an impressive run of form.
Going into the international break, man of the match against United Alexis Sanchez was a major doubt as he was taken off in the game with a slight groin problem with Chile national team boss Jorge Sampaoli admitting it was a risk to play the former Barcelona whizz [per the Evening Standard].
But Alexis seems to have come out of the international break fit as fiddle, bagging three goals for his country [one against Brazil, twice against Peru], and should be ready to play for Arsenal against Watford on Saturday afternoon.
The 26-year old is in brilliant form at the moment as nine goals in two weeks is a testament to his goalscoring ability, and his constant prodding of opposition defences should help Arsenal win the game against Watford.
Due to his form and that of German ace Mesut Ozil, coupled with the brilliance of Englishman Theo Walcott, there is enough firepower to make three changes to the squad this weekend, without tampering with the team’s chances of earning a victory.
With the Champions League game against in-form Bayern Munich fast-approaching, we have picked the three Arsenal stars that most likely need to be rested versus Watford.
1. Alex Ox-Chamberlain For Aaron Ramsey
This is a move that makes sense in all ways, given that Ramsey returned to England after a going through physical and emotional event as Wales qualified for the Euro 2016.
Chamberlain is also eager to prove his worth to Wenger after bagging a goal for England against Lithuania. Wenger will be looking to start Ramsey against Bayern, and giving the Ox the chance against Watford will make the Englishman raring to go all the way.
2. Mathieu Flamini For Santi Cazorla.
With his front four in stupendous form, Wenger could afford to field two defensive midfield men in a 4-2-3-1 to provide Cazorla a much-needed rest ahead of the Bayern game.
Though his strength lies in the middle of the park, Flamini could be given the license of support the attack if need be, as Francis Coquelin would suitable ensure a shield is given to the backline – having enjoyed two weeks off.
Cazorla shows fatigue more than anyone else in the Arsenal team, with a drop in impact whenever he is overused.
Tuesday night’s clash with Bayern will require much running and hard work, and Cazorla will be expected to replicate the energetic and determined display he produced against Manchester City in January. Hence, the silky Spaniard needs to be rested.
3. Mathieu Debuchy For Hector Bellerin.
Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy does not seem to be reacting too well to losing his place in the starting XI to Hector Bellerin, and it could be understandable as the former Newcastle right-back made a brilliant start to life in North London but was hindered by two unfortunate injuries in the 2014/15 season.
There will definitely come a time when Wenger will need the France international, hence, he must keep Debuchy happy by providing him some minutes.
It would also make sense for Bellerin to have a rest on Saturday, as the former Barcelona youth participated for Spain’s Under 21 this week. The Champions League will require fresh legs and minds, considering that the 20-year old could be facing the likes of Douglas Costa, Mario Gotze or Kingsley Coman.