Predicted Arsenal XI to play Chelsea - Same side if the Ox shakes off calf problem

Match to be played on Saturday 22nd March 2014 at 12:45. Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.

Arsene Wenger will head into his 1000th game as the manager of Arsenal in a very good mood.

The Gunners sit third in the table and can close the gap on Chelsea to a single point this weekend if they win at Stamford Bridge.

Wenger has a number of injury problems to deal with but a workout video posted on Instagram by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suggests he should be fine after coming off with a slight calf problem in the North London derby win last weekend.

Here’s the side Wenger could opt for.

GK – Wojciech Szczesny

The Pole has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season. He’s consistent and distributes the ball well from the back which is important.

RB – Bacary Sagna

As Arsenal battle away to get Sagna tied down to a new contract, the Frenchman faces the massive challenge of keeping Eden Hazard quiet for 90 minutes. He has the experience and quality needed to pull it off.

CB – Per Mertesacker

The big German should take his usual place in the heart of the defence. He offers strength and leadership in that back four.

CB – Laurent Koscielny

The Frenchman should take his natural place in the back four. He had a solid game against Tottenham and continues to build on the form he's shown throughout the season.

LB – Kieran Gibbs

Both Arsenal left-backs are now back to full fitness but Gibbs will probably just keep his place. His pace will be an asset for the side when Arsenal are forced to counter attack during the 90 minutes.

RM – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

If the Ox is fit, he’ll start. He’ll start in a right midfield role and is a perfectly competent winger. He’ll also drift into central areas where he has been effective this season.

CM – Mikel Arteta

It would be harsh to drop Arteta when he did nothing wrong in the last game. He’ll most likely be the midfielder who drops off to offer some protection to his central defenders.

CM – Tomas Rosicky

Rosicky had a great game against Tottenham and Wenger will most likely play on that confidence. He’ll drift all across the midfield looking to control the tempo and flow of the game.

PlayerClubMatchdayTeamPosGoalsTotal PassMins
Tomas Rosicky Spurs vs Arsenal 30 Arsenal MF 1 20 69
Mikel Arteta Spurs vs Arsenal 30 Arsenal MF 0 51 90
Santiago Cazorla Spurs vs Arsenal 30 Arsenal MF 0 42 90
Mathieu Flamini Spurs vs Arsenal 30 Arsenal MF 0 7 21
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Spurs vs Arsenal 30 Arsenal MF 0 36 85

AM – Santi Cazorla

With Mesut Ozil still injured, Cazorla will continue in the number ten role behind the main striker. Arsenal need to get him on the ball quickly and frequently.

LM – Lukas Podolski

The German should continue down the left hand side. He guarantees good work rate and seems to be loving life at the club at the moment. It’s important he can double up with Gibbs and stay turned on defensively.

ST – Olivier Giroud

This is a big game for Giroud because he’s going to have to showcase different elements to his game. He’ll have to hold the ball up, drop off and also press the defence.

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