With the Community shield won, in a truly smash and grab fashion, thoughts turn to N7 on Saturday lunchtime. After such an encouraging season and having spent heavily, the pressure is well and truly on. We MUST start well. In the early exchanges of the season I don’t expect scintillating performances but I do expect to see some semblance of it. But as always the most important thing is to win.

Quite how we will line up really is intriguing. With Gabriel Jesus out there is a big question as to who starts up front. The obvious decision is between Eddie Nketiah and Havertz but we know that Arteta doesn’t see Kai as a line leader. His physical presence does however lend itself to solid hold up play (as we saw at Wembley) but his potency in front of goal is an issue, as it has been throughout his career in England. The other option at a glance is Eddie and we all know his strengths and weaknesses.

But we do have other options. We could play Leandro Trossard through the middle, which for what it’s worth would be my preference. I feel he slots into the forward line well and is more dynamic than Eddie and Havertz. This dynamism is something that Arteta is clearly looking for. When we see the movement of the front three and the way they interchange, having an Nketiah or a Havertz through the middle stifles that somewhat.

There are of course other options. We know that Gabrielle Martinelli has been vocal about his preference to play through the middle. With the addition of Trossard we could play the Belgian on the left and Martinelli through the middle. I do feel that this is an unlikely play from Mikel though, so far he’s been reluctant to play him in the main striker position and there have been occasions when its been a possibility.

Aside from the front line, the rest of the team picks itself, even with the imminent arrival of David Raya which will be announced before Saturday. You could make a case for or against Timber in the squad but he acquitted himself well during pre-season and I think we’ll see him start, especially with Zinchenko nursing a knock.

All eyes on the team sheet then. As I stated at the start of this post, its absolutely imperative that we start well and get the first three points on the board. I will, of course, see you all there.



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