Key Man To Return: Predicted Arsenal XI To Face West Brom

By on December 23, 2016

Arsenal will look to get their Premier League title challenge back on track when we entertain West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates on Boxing Day.

Here is the side I think Arsene Wenger will select for the game:

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech failed to keep a clean sheet for his eighth league game in a row following last weeks 2-1 defeat at Manchester City and he’ll be disappointed with Raheem Sterling’s winner but I expect the Czech star to keep his place between the sticks on Monday.

Defence: Shkodran Mustafi remains out with a hamstring injury that he suffered against Stoke earlier this month while Per Mertesacker is still not available yet despite returning to training having recovered from a serious knee injury which he picked up in pre-season.

Therefore, Gabriel is expected to continue alongside Laurent Koscielny in the middle of the back four while Hector Bellerin will once again start at right-back. I’d like to see Kieran Gibbs given a chance to impress at left-back but think Wenger will stick with Nacho Monreal on Monday and perhaps give Gibbsy a run-out in the New Year.

Midfield: Aaron Ramsey returned to full training today so the Welsh international is expected to return to the squad on Boxing Day and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him given an instant recall to the starting eleven.

We looked ponderous in midfield against City and Wenger highlighted this in his press conference earlier so the boss may be keen to freshen things up. With Santi Cazorla out for the long-term following ankle surgery, it might be time for Ramsey to form a partnership alongside Granit Xhaka – if he can stay fit!

Olivier-Giroud arsenal

Attack: Wenger may be tempted to give Olivier Giroud a rare start up front as West Brom are a physical side but there is little doubt we’re a better team all-round with Alexis Sanchez through the middle.

If this was at the Hawthorns we might see Giroud starting but as it’s at home we should dominate the visitors so I expect the Frenchman to be on the bench with Alexis leading the line once again.

Theo Walcott should keep his place after scoring against City last weekend while we don’t have too many options but to stick with Alex Iwobi on the left as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

All eyes will be on Mesut Ozil to see how he responds on Monday following two hugely disappointing performances against Everton and Man City. We all know the German playmaker is world class on his day but we really need him to turn up when we’re not playing well so let’s hope we see an improved display from him against West Brom.

Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:

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