Time is completely running out for Arsene Wenger to try and at least save the Arsenal's season before he decides to part ways with the club in the most embarrassing manner. The shambolic 0-3 defeat against Crystal Palace in the Premier League last week was felt in the worst manner possible by the Arsenal fans.
Eight league games remain for the Gunners this season and the match against Middlesbrough on Monday should be seen by Wenger as a way to turnaround the club's season and also, try and save his management career at the club.
At the moment, Arsenal are seventh in the Premier League table with 54 points. In their last five league matches, the only win was against West Ham United on April 5.
With so many reports coming out from Arsenal -- from the club handing a transfer warchest to Wenger to the mass exodus and as always, the huge question mark over Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez's future at the club -- it is interesting to find what playing XI Wenger selects, especially in times as demoralising as this.
ARSENAL: As mentioned by Wenger in the pre-match press conference, defender Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper Petr Cech have a 80% chance of returning for Monday's match, while David Ospina and Lucas Perez remain on the sidelines.
"We faced West Brom and Crystal Palace where we had 70 per cent of the ball. We want to make more with our possession and we also want to be tight at the back," Wenger said.
"The good news is that Laurent Koscielny will come back, Petr Cech will come back into the team, so that's two experienced players who should help to make it a bit more tranquil and make us a bit more confident.
When we have possession we need to have a good pace and accuracy, but as well penetration. What we have lacked a little bit is in the final ball because we've had many crosses."
MIDDLESBROUGH: The Championship 2015-16 runners up are currently battling relegation with seven games to go. Needless to say, they need nothing but a win to be on the safe side.
Defender Calum Chambers cannot be a part of the match as he cannot face his parent club (he is on loan from Arsenal). Meanwhile, the return of defender George Friend and midfielder Gaston Ramirez from their respective injuries could boost the home side.
Expected starting XI
- Middlesbrough: Valdes; Ayala; Bernardo, Gibson; Barragan, Clayton, Leadbitter, Ramirez, Downing; Stuani, Gestede
- Arsenal : Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Elneny; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; Welbeck
Date: April 17
Time: 8 pm BST (12:30 am IST [Tuesday])
Venue: Riverside Stadium
Where to watch live
|Country||TV channel(s)||Live stream|
|INDIA||Star Sports Select HD 1||Hotstar|
|FRANCE||SFR Sport 1|
|UK||Sky Sports 1/HD, Now TV||Sky GO|
|USA||NBC Sports||NBC Sports Live|