How many new signings should start for Arsenal against Swansea?

By Graham McNorthbank

Arsenal's new look first 11 take to the field for the first time tomorrow and I have to admit, I feel a tad nervous in my expectations.

Having signed an experienced centre back with the height we have all been clamouring for over the past couple me seasons, that player promptly went and turned in his worst ever performance for his national team, but with Thomas Vermaelen sidelined (again) after ankle tendon surgery (again), Per Mertesacker will have little time to get used to the pace of Premier League football.

The fact that we are playing newly promoted Swansea could be a blessing but they will undoubtedly raise their game in their debut at Emirates and with our new boys barely on first name terms yet, the Welsh side might even fancy their chances against an under pressure Arsenal.

As for the team Arsene Wenger will start tomorrow, injuries dictate that most places will pick themselves, so we could see a number of our new recruits at some stage.

In the past Le Gaffer has taken his time in introducing new blood to first team duties, often easing them in through appearances off the bench. But I don't think he has that luxury at the moment, so come 5 o'clock tomorrow I'm hoping we'll be singing some new names.

Despite shipping 8 goals in his last outing, I can't see Wojciech Szczesny losing his place between the sticks. After all, he couldn't really be blamed for the Old Trafford travesty.
Our back four is likely to be the untried combo of Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Gibbs, who has apparently recovered and who should keep out new boy Andre Santos, whom is short of match fitness according to Le Boss.

Also struggling is Tomas Rosicky. Now there's a surprise. He'll get a late fitness test, but with Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere injured and Alex Song and Gervinho suspended, the centre of the park is looking a bit threadbare.

But I could see new recruit Mikel Arteta slotting in alongside Aaron Ramsey and Emmanuel Frimpong in midfield. But Yossi Benayoun could also play a part in proceedings, but I reckon Wenger will use him as a weapon to come off the bench.

Or, of course, he could be deployed up front, where it seems we have a glut of options even though Gervinho is not available.

Both Robin van Persie and Chu-Young Park were in sparkling form for their countries during the international break, as was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the under 21s, while Theo Walcott had a decent game for England and we're still to see for ourselves youngster Ryo Miyaichi who might get a home debut.

Personally I'd like to see RvP and Park given a chance to forge a partnership, supported by Oxlade-Chamberlain, but I think Wenger will choose Arshavin, RvP and Benayoun to spearhead our attacking play.

One thing is for sure, a win is a must to kick start the Gunners' league campaign, so if we haven't secured a lead by half time, I could see the manager using his pacier players to shake things up at half time, with the likes of Walcott, Ox-Cham and Miyaichi all available to get in behind the Swans' defence.

As usual, use our comments section below to select your starting 11, but for the record here is mine:

Addict XI


Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Arteta Frimpong Ramsey

Benayoun Rvp Park