Arsenal host QPR on Friday’s Boxing Day fixture at Emirates in what hopefully will be a return to winning ways after Sunday’s disappointing (to put it nicely) 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Arsene Wenger revealed he does not expect Laurent Koscielny back this week but could be available for Sunday, while the likes of Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil should be back in early January.
Theo Walcott could be involved from the get go after being unused as a substitute on Sunday and is a viable candidate to replace Alexis Sanchez who clearly needs a rest. Theo needs game time after a long time on the sidelines, however Wenger has been cautious to avoid another setback.
The remainder of the side will be as it was against Liverpool with Mathieu Flamini and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the limited options we have in midfield. There is Francis Coquelin however the Frenchman is more of a stop-gap, last resort option you tend to feel. If The Ox has regained full fitness from his recent knock that potentially held him back against the Reds, he seems the obvious candidate.
Against Liverpool, The Ox was a little woeful and wasteful in terms of ball retention. He perhaps struggled with the home side’s domination and continued pressure but against QPR he should have more space and ball so will feel more comfortable.
Tomas Rosicky is expected to be back with the squad but after failing to start a single game since the Capital One Cup early on in the season it seems unlikely the Czech will be in line for a start.
Will be interesting to see if Wenger opts to rotate his Chilean star who usually enjoys a winter break not to mention he’s played virtually every minute in recent months bar the Galatasaray win. If Theo’s fit enough to be on the bench, he should be fit to start and give us 60.
Lukas Podolski is another option and someone who needs to be utilized over the next two weeks with fixtures set to come thick and fast.
Here is the predicted lineup:
Chambers Mertesacker Debuchy Gibbs
Walcott Cazorla Welbeck
Who do you think will start on Boxing Day? Share your thoughts below..