Arsenal vs Stoke team news: No Per Mertesacker for Gunners as Mesut Ozil returns and Theo Walcott starts

Stoke are without suspended duo Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay

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The Independent Online

Theo Walcott continues in attack for Arsenal as the search for goals continues in their Premier League clash with Stoke at the Emirates, but captain Per Mertesacker is still sidelined.

Mertesacker missed to 1-0 win over Newcastle two weeks’ ago after suffering a chest infection, but despite manager Arsene Wenger hinting at the German’s return, he is not included in the matchday squad.

It means Gabriel Paulista partners Laurent Koscielny at centre-back once again in a side that shows one change as Mesut Ozil returns from a knee injury to replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with Olivier Giroud left on the substitutes’ bench.

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Stoke manager Mark Hughes has had his preparations hit by suspension after seeing Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam sent-off in the 1-0 defeat to West Brom last time out.

With the pair suspended, in come Mauro Arnautovic and Joselu, while Phil Bardsley comes into the defence for Glen Johnson.

Teams:

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez; Walcott.

Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Campbell, Giroud

Stoke: Butland; Bardsley, Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters; Whelan (c), van Ginkel; Diouf, Shaqiri, Arnautovic; Joselu

Subs: Given, Wollscheid, Wilson, Ireland, Sidwell, Bojan, Crouch

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