The Gunners have had a nice break after the pulsating 6-3 loss to Manchester City at Eithad last Saturday, after what has been a difficult period for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Arsenal have lost top spot to Liverpool who beat Cardiff on Saturday, but have the chance to regain their lead should they manage to have the better of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea on Monday night.
Wenger has a relatively easy job choosing his lineup, starting with the backline as Koscielny is likely to be unavailable after his laceration to his leg sustained against the City, meaning captain Thomas Vermaelen will be restored to the backline. The Frenchman is back in training however and is expected to return for the Boxing Day matchup with West Ham United. Kieran Gibbs will return in place of Nacho Monreal after a rough outing for the Spaniard against City.
In midfield it’s either Arteta or Flamini in the holding role with Aaron Ramsey playing in the box to box role. Mesut Ozil will resume his advance role behind Olivier Giroud.
Personally I prefer Flamini over Arteta because he offers more of a shield in front of the defence, adds more grit, aggression and bite to the Gunners midfield. However Wenger seems to favour Arteta, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spaniard is given the nod over Flamini.
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Jack Wilshere’s two match suspension means he misses out, making the wide positions easy to pick with Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla operating on the flanks.
Lukas Podoski has given a timely boost to Arsenal’s frontline and will likely play a part in the tie after recently returning to full training. He will either feature on the wing for either Cazorla or Walcott, or upfront in place of/supporting Giroud.
Sagna Merts Verm (c) Gibbs
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