Arsenal predicted XI vs. Aston Villa

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks likely to bring Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil into his starting lineup for this evening's crunch Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

Nine days have passed since Arsenal's 2-0 win over arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup, although that success was tainted when the news was revealed 48 hours later that Theo Walcott will be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered during that victory.

Walcott's absence means Wenger will be forced into at least one change, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's return from a five-month spell on the sidelines is likely to come from the bench if at all.

Mesut Ozil was not risked from the start against Spurs due to a nagging shoulder problem, but with more than a week's full training under his belt will almost certainly figure from the outset against Villa.

Olivier Giroud missed the Spurs match completely through injury but is also primed to return, with Lukas Podolski likely to make way as he continues to aim for fitness and form after returning from a hamstring tear last month.

Wenger's most tricky selection dilemma comes in midfield, with Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky all vying for central spots.

Rosicky was excellent against Spurs but could be forced to settle for a place on the bench tonight, unless Wenger decides to move Wilshere to the right flank in Walcott's absence.

Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs were given a small chance of featuring by Wenger last weekend, but with a hectic fixture schedule round the corner expect Nacho Monreal will surely continue to deputise at left-back.

Thomas Vermaelen came off against Spurs with a knee problem and won't keep his place, freeing up Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny to resume their partnership in central defence.

Elsewhere Santi Cazorla will look to pick up where he left off against Spurs, while Serge Gnabry's sparking display against Spurs will need a repeat performance from the bench.

Arsenal XI to face Villa: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla, Ozil, Wilshere, Giroud

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