Predicted Arsenal XI to play Norwich City - Ozil to start, Cazorla and Walcott on the bench

Arsene Wenger has some big decisions to make ahead of the home match against Norwich City this Saturday.

The Gunners are hampered by the recent knee injury to star midfielder Mesut Ozil, which has opened up a can of worms over how Arsene Wenger will structure his midfield as he looks to keep the Gunners top of the table.

Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla have given the side a lift as they close on returns to full fitness but neither player is likely to start this game, with the Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund next week.

Here’s the side Arsene Wenger may go with.

GK – Wojciech Szczesny

The Polish goalkeeper had a decent game against England to continue his good form, which he’s built up over the start of the season. His ability to make important saves from a variety of positions is as good as anyone else in the division at the moment.

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RB – Carl Jenkinson

Bacary Sagna is carrying a hamstring problem, which means he’s unlikely to feature in this game and that means a chance for Carl Jenkinson to come into the side. He’s got good pace, he’s well suited to attacking and defensive full back roles and he should be determined to put in a solid performance.

CB – Per Mertesacker

The German has been one of the best central defenders in the Premier League this season. He’s worked his game out well and is getting into good positions to compensate for his flaws such as a lack of pace. He’ll mop up anything Norwich put together aerially.

CB – Laurent Koscielny

Wenger may feel under pressure from Thomas Vermaelen’s recent comments but Koscielny doesn’t deserve to be dropped. He’s got a great partnership going with Mertesacker and is in good form, whether Arsenal are playing a higher or deeper line of defence.

See also: Ozil injury update and Park move to Wigan looks off

LB – Kieran Gibbs

Gibbs is unlucky that Leighton Baines has been so consistent for Everton otherwise he would have been playing for England over the last week. Gibbs’ pace allows him to get forward, stay forward and then drop back quickly into his normal defensive position.

RM – Aaron Ramsey

Ramsey is likely to start on the right hand side but don't expect him to stay there. He can switch flanks, he can move inside and play centrally or he can work well with Jenkinson down the right hand side if Bacary Sagna doesn't make it through a late fitness test.

DM – Mathieu Flamini

Flamini has been a revelation in his second spell as an Arsenal player. He’ll be the midfielder who flies around the middle of the pitch, breaking up Norwich’s attacking play and winning back possession for his side before offloading to players in better attacking positions.

CM – Mikel Arteta

Arteta will sit and pull the strings in the middle of Arsenal’s team. He’ll be key in terms of his experience and leadership as Arsenal will be forced to play without the quality and reliability of Ozil for the first time.

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AM – Mesut Ozil

Arsenal have been handed a big boost through the news that Mesut Ozil is fit to take his place in the side. There had been a worry over the German's fitness after he picked up a knee knock during the international break.

LM – Jack Wilshere

There is still a doubt over whether Tomas Rosicky will be fit for this game, which means Wilshere could be asked to play on the left. He'll work well with Gibbs when the defender gets forward but expect to see him drift inside into more central positions throughout the game.

ST – Olivier Giroud

Giroud bagged goals during the international break but was not able to prevent France from falling into the play-offs. He’ll lead the attack for this game but don’t be surprised to see him withdrawn early in the second half if the Gunners have a comfortable lead.

What do you think? Can you see Cazorla starting?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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