Arsenal consider resting Ozil, Wilshere & Gibbs

Theo Walcott is set to make his first start in nearly three months as the Gunners prepare to rotate their starting X1 ahead of Hull's trip to Emirates Stadium and a busy December
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsene Wenger is considering resting Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs against Hull City on Wednesday night, Goal understands.

The Arsenal manager is planning significant squad rotation in a Premier League match for the first time this season ahead of a glut of December fixtures.

Key trio Ozil, Wilshere and Gibbs have been pinpointed as most in need of a rest as the Gunners balance the need to keep their best players fresh with maintaining their excellent start to the campaign.

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Theo Walcott will make his first start since September 18 after being a substitute for the last two matches, while Nacho Monreal is primed for a rare start in place of Gibbs. Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini are expected to be in contention after being on the bench against Cardiff City on Saturday.

Wenger will make a late decision on Bacary Sagna, who is struggling with a hamstring injury sustained against Cardiff, and Carl Jenkinson has been placed on standby.

Goal understands that Sagna would have come off at half-time on Saturday had Jenkinson been available but the right-back had not been named in the 18-man matchday squad.

Arsenal were also preparing to rest Per Mertesacker but want to avoid a major re-jig of the defence due to the likely absence of Sagna, who is expected to return against Everton on Sunday.

The Gunners host Hull on Wednesday ahead of a testing six-day period in which they play Roberto Martinez's in-form team at home before trips to Napoli and Manchester City.

Ozil has started all 15 of Arsenal's Premier League and Champions League matches since his deadline-day transfer from Real Madrid, while Gibbs has started all 13 of the club's league games this season and featured in six of their seven European fixtures.

Wilshere has been less frequently used than his fellow left-footers but Arsenal are wary of over-playing him due to his long-standing ankle problems.

Speaking at his pre-match media briefing on Tuesday morning, Wenger said he was planning on rotating his squad for each game in December.

“I rotate considering the level of fatigue,” he explained. “I try to limit the number because I do not want to disrupt the balance of the team, so I do that in every single game. When you play so many games of that intensity, we expect to lose one or two players.

“We have some indications – my eyes, some objective data and, as well, some positions where it’s more demanding on the physical front than others.

“We have so many games that in some positions I will have to change; the full-back position is one that is very demanding. Central defence is a little bit less demanding on the physical side, it’s more on the concentration side.”