FA Cup Final: How Will Arsenal Line Up Against Chelsea Amid Injury Problems?

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil at Emirates Stadium, north London, May 21. Ozil will be a key figure in Saturday's FA Cup final. Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Arsene Wenger takes his Arsenal squad to Wembley on Saturday knowing victory in the FA Cup final is necessary to salvage a shred of good cheer from a disappointing season that saw the team miss out on Champions League football for the first time in two decades.

But as Arsenal prepares to face Premier League champion Chelsea, Wenger has an injury crisis on his hands with several key defenders unfit to play or struggling to make the game.

Here is an assessment of how Arsenal could line up in north London in three days' time.


No problems here. Petr Cech is ageing but he remains a dependable, world-class option in goal. He should be especially motivated against the club where he spent the majority of his career.


Kieran Gibbs has been struggling with a thigh injury but should play. If he can't make the starting lineup then Nacho Monreal is a specialist left back. But Wenger has several serious problems in the center of his defense. Shkodran Mustafi has not trained this week due to concussion symptoms. Gabriel Paulista is out for six to eight weeks with knee ligament damage. Laurent Koscielny 's appeal against his red card from Sunday's win over Everton was unsuccessful so Monreal could be forced into emergency service at left-center back, especially if Wenger wants to continue with a three-man defense.

Should Wenger revert to a back four, through sheer paucity of numbers, then Rob Holding would be the natural choice to come in and partner Monreal. Holding, 21, was highly impressive in the victory against Manchester City in the semifinal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been playing wing-back in Wenger's new system but he has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury. Hector Bellerin is an elite replacement if Oxlade-Chamberlain cannot play.


Granit Xhaka was taken off on 62 minutes against Everton though the Evening Standard reports that was precautionary and done to "avoid aggravating" a minor calf problem.

Xhaka will probably line up next to Aaron Ramsey , who scored in the Everton victory, and behind Mesut Ozil .

If Wenger reverts to a flat back four, Theo Walcott could slot in on the right wing.


In his press conference on Wednesday, Wenger said Alexis Sanchez would be "okay" to play against Chelsea. The Chile striker also came off against Everton, with a hamstring problem.

Wenger then has to decide who to play alongside Sanchez. Olivier Giroud started the semifinal against Manchester City and offers a threat in the air. But Danny Welbeck can stretch Chelsea's defense and create more space for Sanchez. Both, crucially, are fully fit.