Connect in the back of the net

Arsenal shared the spoils with defending Premier League champions Leicester City last weekend.

Although the result is far from being labeled as stellar, Arsenal fans should be secretly rejoicing over having not suffered back-to-back defeats to fellow title contenders.

They now travel to Watford for their first London derby of the 2016/17 season, and here are the four burning questions ahead of their third league game.


Will Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud start?

Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud started on the bench in light of their European Championship fatigue although Laurent Koscielny was rushed back into the starting lineup last weekend.

In the absence of the attacking duo, Arsenal looked toothless as they lacked intelligent movement and struggled to produce the final killer pass.

Having not brought down players who could deputise for the above-mentioned duo, Arsenal are now desperate for them to be rushed back into the starting lineup.

Against a Watford side, who are coming off back-to-back 2-1 defeats to Chelsea and Football League One side Gillingham, their presence will be pivotal.

Having played cameo roles in the Leicester stalemate, they should make the starting lineup.


Will Calum Chambers again be benched?

Arsene Wenger sacrificed Calum Chambers in order to accommodate summer signing Rob Holding in the lineup against the Foxes last weekend.

Although Wenger’s decision — much akin to most of his decisions — was initially frowned upon, Holding’s performance justified it.

Alongside veteran defender, he produced a display worthy enough of being rewarded with another Premier League start.

In the wake of being benched for an inexperienced lad from the third tier, the former Southampton starlet was reported to be departing Arsenal on loan.

Should the Arsenal manager choose to stall his progress by benching him again on Saturday evening, he will be left without an option but to leave the club in search of minutes.


Which midfield partnership should Arsenal go with?

Granit Xhaka started his first league game against the champions last weekend, but against the Hornets, Arsenal will likely desire less defensive contribution from the midfield than they did against Leicester.

Accordingly, a new double pivot combination will figure in the Saturday’s showdown.

With Xhaka’s involvement a given, who completes the double pivot remains to be seen.

Santi Cazorla, who impressed against Leicester, may retain his place in the lineup, and Mohamed Elneny is also in contention for a start.

Francis Coquelin will likely come off the bench to offer defensive stability in the dying minutes.


Will Arsenal claim their first win?

Arsenal, much to the frustration of their fans, lost their first fixture before eking out a goalless draw in their second.

However, the mood around the Emirates Stadium is upbeat, given the arrival of Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi.

The positive vibes married with the pressure to register the first win in three games could goad Arsenal to play to their fullest potential.

With the Manchester clubs maintaining a perfect record, and local rivals Tottenham Hotspur already three points ahead, Arsenal should be desperate to claim all three points.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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