Player Analysis

There is little doubt in my mind that we now have the strongest squad we have had in the last fiftee years. Our midfield is as strong as any outside the top four. My only real worry is that we are a little light on backup strikers.

GOALKEEPERS

Fabianski
Roberto
Martin

There’s no doubt who is number one, so Fabianski gets the nod

CENTRAL DEFENDERS

Reid
Ogbonna
Diop
Balbuena
Cardoso

Diop and Balbuena were outstanding last season and will undoubtedly start the season as our first choice pairing.

FULL BACKS

Masuaku
Cresswell
Fredericks
Zabaleta
Johnson

Ben Johnson could be the surprise of the season but Ryan Fredericks will be seeking to cement his first choice position. He will start as number one at right back, but I wonder whether that’s where he’ll finish. On the left hand side I would play Aaron Cresswell, but I suspect the manager may disagree, with Masuaku starting as first choice.

MIDFIELDERS

Noble
Wilshere
Lanzini
Rice
Fornals
Snodgrass
Sanchez

Here’s where the fun starts. Rice is an automatic choice and Wilshere has had a fantastic pre-season. Manuel Lanzini will surely the the other first choice midfield if we’re playing 4-3-3, but it may be that Fornals then takes one of the forward positions.

FORWARDS

Haller
Hernandez
Antonio
Yarmolenko
Anderson
Silva
Ajeti

Haller will obviously be an automatic choice, with Anderson on the left. Yarmolenko has looked good but I would have thought Michael Antonio ought to get the nod against Manchester City.

So here’s our first eleve to start with…

Fabianski
Fredericks
Masuaku
Diop
Balbuena
Rice
Lanzini
Wilshere
Antonio
Haller
Anderson

Subs Roberto, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Fornals, Yarmolenko, Hernandez

Bet I’m wrong, though.