Predicted Arsenal XI to play Chelsea - Cazorla, Vermaelen to start

Match to be played on Monday 23rd December 2013 at 20:00. Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.

Arsenal will be determined to bounce back from defeat to Manchester City when they host Chelsea in the Premier League.

The Gunners could have seen their Premier League lead slip by the time the game kicks-off which makes the London derby arguably the most important match that the Gunners have played this season.

Several key players are still in the treatment room for Arsenal but Arsene Wenger can still name a very strong side. Here’s the eleven he may go with.

GK – Wojciech Szczesny

The Polish goalkeeper has been one of the best shot stoppers in the Premier League this season. He gives the defence a lot of confidence that if someone makes a mistake, he’ll be there to see off the danger.

RB – Bacary Sagna

Negotiations over a new deal for the Frenchman go on but he’ll slot in on the right of defence. He should be determined to produce a faultless 90 minutes of football which will go a long way to helping Arsenal win.

CB – Per Mertesacker

The big German is the rock in the Arsenal back four and someone who provides a lot of strength and leadership. He’ll be hurting after Manchester City put six past Arsenal last weekend, something he’ll want to put right.

CB – Thomas Vermaelen

This is a real chance for Vermaelen to step up and regain his position in the back four. With Laurent Koscielny missing, the Belgian now has the chance he would have been anticipating for several weeks.

LB – Nacho Monreal

An able deputy to Kieran Gibbs and someone else who will be determined to show that he’s a better player than the one who played against City. Gets forward well as an extra outlet for the midfield.

RM – Theo Walcott

The best player in an Arsenal shirt as far as last weekend is concerned. His pace down the right will be crucial and he should be confident now he’s found the back of the net, getting that goalscoring feeling back.

DM – Mathieu Flamini

The Frenchman will sit and protect the back four. He’s been great this season at breaking up the play, winning back possession and getting Arsenal’s attacks rolling while the opposition are still caught high up the pitch.

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CM – Aaron Ramsey

Ramsey has been the best midfielder in the Premier League this season but he’s been challenged after City found a way to keep him quiet. It will be fascinating to see how he reinvents himself.

AM – Mesut Ozil

Expect Ozil to sit at the top of the midfield in behind the main striker. He didn’t have a great game against City but he’s still a world class performer and he should be up for facing former boss Jose Mourinho.

LM – Santi Cazorla

Cazorla was benched against City but it may be time for him to come back into the team. He’s good on the ball and a very intelligent player in terms of being aware of what’s around him.

ST – Olivier Giroud

Giroud has been having a very good season but he’ll be wary of allowing a bad patch to develop. Expect to see him busting a gut to get on the end of a chance and to score a goal.

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