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Predicted Arsenal XI to play Crystal Palace - Cazorla, Flamini in

Match to be played on Saturday 26th October 2013 at 12:45. Venue: Selhurst Park, London.

The defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League was a bitter pill to swallow and not least because the player who scored the winner, Robert Lewandowski, probably shouldn’t have been on the field.

It ended a remarkable run of 12 matches without defeat for the Gunners but the good news is they have another chance to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League in just a few days.

Arsene Wenger will be sweating over an ankle knock that Jack Wilshere picked up during the Dortmund match but he has several options if the midfielder isn’t available.

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Here’s the side Wenger could go with.

GK – Wojciech Szczesny

The Pole couldn’t do too much about either goal against Dortmund and until he makes a series of bad errors, which seems very unlikely, he’ll retain his starting place across all competitions.

RB – Bacary Sagna

Sagna should be determined to sharpen up in the opponent’s defensive third. He got forward well against Dortmund and looked solid defensively but his final ball in attack was inconsistent. He’s capable of putting some very dangerous crosses into the box and that’s what he needs to focus on.

CB – Per Mertesacker

The big German struggled a little bit at times with the pace of Dortmund’s play, but he’s a smart centre back and dropped off to give himself a better chance of dealing with the various threats coming his way. He’ll retain his place.

See also: Arsenal to make move for Chelsea target?

CB – Laurent Koscielny

The French defender was on the receiving end of Lewandowski’s elbow and he played fairly well against some very talented attacking players. His pace is crucial because he can compensate for when Mertesacker is caught a little too high up the pitch.

LB – Kieran Gibbs

Gibbs is a vital asset when it comes to the left of Arsenal’s team. His pace means he can run up and down the left wing easily throughout 90 minutes. He’ll more than likely get a lot of space and time on the ball against Palace and he’ll be crucial as an outlet for the midfield.

RM – Aaron Ramsey

Ramsey may start on the right to allow Santi Cazorla to go into a central position. Ramsey is good enough to link up with Sagna on the right hand side and he can also rotate well with the central midfielders.

DM – Mathieu Flamini

Mikel Arteta had a decent game against Dortmund but Flamini is the best option the Gunners have to protect the defence. Flamini missed the match last night with a slight concussion but if he's fit, he should come straight back into the team.

CM – Santi Cazorla

Cazorla gave the Arsenal midfield a real lift when he came on against Dortmund. His ability to link up the various sections of the team, find passes in confined areas and generally to create a chance out of nothing doesn’t need to be sold.

See also: Five things we learned about Arsenal against Dortmund

AM – Mesut Ozil

Ozil struggled against Dortmund when he was isolated on the left hand side but he’ll get plenty of time on the ball in this game. He’ll be a vital attacking component in behind Olivier Giroud and he should be confident that he can dominate the Palace defence throughout this game.

LM – Tomas Rosicky

Rosicky had a solid game against Dortmund on may well have bagged a goal on another night. Gibbs’ ability to get forward means the Czech can tuck inside but Rosicky is good enough to rotate with Gibbs on the left as well as filling in centrally for players who get caught out of position.

ST – Olivier Giroud

Giroud bagged another goal against Dortmund to continue his good start to the season. He has a strike rate of one goal in every two games in the Premier League this season and is rightly the main figure at the top of Arsenal’s attack.

What do you think? Should Gnabry start out wide?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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