FA Cup final: Arsene Wenger’s biggest decisions ahead of Chelsea clash
Arsenal take on Chelsea this evening in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
Chelsea have won the Premier League and Antonio Conte’s side come into the game as favourites.
Arsenal have had an up and down season – with more downs than ups.
Arsene Wenger, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’s futures have dominated the second half of the season with all three being linked with leaving the club this summer.
But Wenger has some big decisions to make this evening. Here are just a few of them.
What formation to line up in
Arsenal spent much of the season playing a 4-2-3-1 – as they have for the past few seasons.
Against Middlesbrough Wenger chose to move to a 3-4-3 and the team have been lined up that way since.
It has looked a lot better with that formation but a defensive crisis could force a shift back to a back four.
Laurent Koscielny is suspended, Gabriel is injured and Shkodran Mustafi is suffering from a concussion and may not recover in time to play.
I have no doubt that Wenger would prefer to stick with three, but he may have no choice.
Who starts in attack
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are all but certain to start behind a striker, particularly in a 3-4-3, but it is who is in front of them that is a big question.
Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck are the two vying for a place in the starting line up.
Many of the big games of late has seen the Frenchman start with Welbeck coming on in the second half.
The team has looked better with the Englishman in it since the switch and it would be my choice to go with him.
Wenger seems to like what Giroud can offer defensively though – particularly at set pieces.
Who starts alongside Granit Xhaka
Xhaka looks certain to start after impressing since switching to the new formation.
It would be crazy to leave out Aaron Ramsey, for me. He has been excellent over the past month. Not surprisingly he is finally fit after spending the season suffering with hamstring injuries, broken toes and an ongoing ankle problem.
The other option would be Francis Coquelin. One performance against Stoke should not be enough to see him start this one but Wenger has a weird admiration for the reckless Frenchman.
It will be tough enough seeing David Ospina named in the starting line up. Seeing Coquelin as well may make it too much to bear as I’m standing in the Wembley sun.