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Picking an Arsenal XI to include Cazorla but no Van Persie

Arsenal have signed Malaga playmaker Santi Cazorla.

The signing of Santi Cazorla to Arsenal has been formally announced. How might he fit into the club's first choice XI?

Cazorla is arguably one of the most complete and versatile midfielders in the game. He can play as winger, central midfielder, second striker or even as a holding midfielder and will be a great addition to the Arsenal team.

What follows is our prediction of Arsenal’s starting XI to include Cazorla and also exclude want-away captain Robin van Persie.

Defence

Wojciech SzczÄ™sny will undoubtedly be Arsenal’s goalkeeper for the upcoming campaign. The young Pole had a solid past season and is considered as one of the best young ‘keepers in world football today.

Yes, he does make some silly mistakes at times, but he’s one of the most reliable Arsenal players. Bacary Sagna will be the first-choice right-back for Arsenal if he’s able to make a timely return from a broken leg. If not, then Carl Jenkinson or Francis Coquelin might have to take over the 29-year-old’s role.

The centre back duo would consist of Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen. The two when fit, are one of the most threatening centre-back pairs in the Premier League and will be the backbone of Arsenal’s defence this term.

For the left-back position, Arsenal have Andre Santos and Kieran Gibbs. I expect the latter to get the nod due to his better defensive abilities than the former.

Midfield

Alex Song and Mikel Arteta are shoe-ins over here. They were phenomenal last season and I clearly expect Wenger to choose the two ahead of players like Ramsey and Rosicky.

Even though Song’s defensive duties, in my opinion are quite questionable, I see the Barcelona target playing as the ‘defensive’ midfielder and Arteta as the central or deep-lying midfielder.

Santi Cazorla will take up the attacking midfielder role. The Spaniard, as stated above, is a very versatile and creative player and I see him playing as more of a 'trequartista’, providing the much-needed spark and energy to the Arsenal game.

Cazorla looks like a very good signing and I won’t be surprised to see him taking over the role of Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal. He would fit into Arsene Wenger’s system very well and for £16m, this transfer could be termed as a real coup by the club.

Note: Wilshere’s return from injury has not been clearly specified yet so I haven’t taken him into consideration.

Attack

Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski should preferably stack up the wings. Even though the Walcott has been heavily linked with a move away from the Emirates, I see the England international staying at the club and starting most of the games when fit.

Podolski is an exciting transfer prospect and should be preferred ahead of Gervinho as the latter has until now, failed to produce the required goods for the club and often struggled for consistency.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is arguably the most talented player in the Arsenal squad, but it is unlikely that the 18-year-old would be able to break into the Gunners’ first-team this season.

Olivier Giroud, signed from Montpellier this summer, will lead the attack in the absence of van Persie. The French international was Ligue 1’s top scorer last season and even though he isn’t considered as good as the departing captain, 26-year-old sure has the potential to create an enormous impact at the Emirates and possibly lead Arsene Wenger and Co. to a silverware in the 2012-13 season.

Arsenal formation 2012-13

Do you agree with the selections? How would your team line-up?

image: © P-A-S-T

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