Arsenal predicted XI to face Sunderland

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will definitely make at least two changes to his starting line-up for tomorrow's Premier League clash with Sunderland, but Theo Walcott will not be one of those additions.

Walcott is easing his way back from a cruciate knee ligament injury and played 45 minutes for the under-21 side against Blackburn Rovers last Friday, but Wenger won't even consider the England international for first-team action until next week.

Wenger will definitely bring Wojciech Szczesny back for the long trip to the Stadium of Light, but Jack Wilshere is suspended and his absence leaves the Gunners boss with a selection dilemma in central midfield.

Arteta ready to return

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta could make a timely return to provide solidity in midfield against the struggling Wearsiders, particularly with Mathieu Flamini failing to impress in Wednesday night's hugely fortunate 2-1 Champions League win over Anderlecht.

In fairness to Flamini there weren't many Gunners stars who produced action of note until a dramatic late comeback in Belgium, but he's failed to prove himself as the effective midfield enforcer Arsenal are crying out for during a recent run in the side.

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Arteta would help Arsenal control possession if he's fully fit to return, but has been in full training for the last week and you have to think he'll in Wenger's selection thoughts.

Defensively Wenger has very little room for manoeuvre, but Calum Chambers has at least served his domestic ban for five yellow cards and should take Hector Bellerin's place at right-back.

Monreal continues for better or worse

Nacho Monreal will continue at centre-back with Laurent Koscielny still sidelined, but Arsenal fans probably have their attention turned to a forward option and the potential return to the starting XI of Lukas Podolski.

The German forward came off the bench to slam home a clinical late winner in midweek, but is yet to start in the Premier League this season and has been forced to make do with three substitute appearances amounting to just 54 minutes.

Wenger has preferred Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in wide roles over the last month and that doesn't look likely to change this weekend,

Arsenal predicted XI to face Sunderland: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Sanchez, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck

Arsene Wenger
Premier League

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