Wojciech Szczesny DROPPED: Team news - Goalkeeper on bench for Arsenal vs Stoke City

Stopper appears to have been punished for smoking incident - although Arsene Wenger denies that is the reason

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The Independent Online

Wojciech Szczesny has been named on the bench by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for the visit of Stoke City to the Emirates.

The goalkeeper was reportedly caught smoking in the toilets after the 2-0 defeat to Southampton on New Year's Day.

The Poland international was omitted for the next game - against Hull in the FA Cup - however Wenger tends to rotate his keepers for cup matches so not much could be read into that decision.

But now it appears Szczesny is paying the price for his behaviour - which came after a dreadful performance against the Saints in which he was culpable for both goals. Although, Wenger said in his pre-match TV interview the decision was not based on disciplinary reasons. Either way, it means David Ospina comes in against the Potters.

Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil is on the bench after Wenger opted not to throw him straight back into action after a lengthy injury lay-off. Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini are also on the bench after returning from injury.

Olivier Giroud returns from suspension and does go straight back into the starting line-up with Danny Welbeck still out injured.

Stoke's new signing Philipp Wollscheid goes straight into the side, as does fit again Bojan Krkic.

Arsenal: Ospina, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Rosicky, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Sanchez.

Subs: Szczesny, Ozil, Walcott, Ramsey, Campbell, Bellerin, Flamini.

Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters, Nzonzi, Whelan, Walters, Bojan, Arnautovic, Crouch.

Subs: Muniesa, Ireland, Wilson, Moses, Adam, Sidwell, Butland.

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