EXCLUSIVE | By Editor
Theo Walcott and Gabriel are set to start Arsenal’s Premier League match against Chelsea on Saturday, Football Insider sources understand.
Arsene Wenger has decided to select Walcott in the central striker role ahead of Olivier Giroud.
Gabriel will keep his place at centre-back alongside Laurent Koscielny despite Per Mertesacker training fully this week.
With Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Francis Coquelin set to be reinstated in the team after being rested for Wednesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb, the two big calls for Wenger are the identity of the attack spearhead and Koscielny’s defensive partner.
The Arsenal boss is convinced that Walcott’s pace and movement has the potential to unsettle Chelsea’s struggling defence, which has conceded 12 goals in five League encounters this season.
The England international has scored 11 goals in his last 11 starts.
In other Arsenal news, new figures show the Gunners’ wage bill is now on a par with their London rivals.
The club paid £192.2million on salaries last season, while Chelsea’s latest wage bill amounts to £193million.