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The Gunners boss is poised to gamble with his line-up against the Greek champions as he seeks to keep his key players fresh for the north London derby at the weekend

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey

Arsene Wenger is giving serious consideration to resting Robin van Persie and Mikel Arteta for Arsenal's Champions League clash against Olympiakos, Goal.com can reveal.

Wenger is already without 10 players through injury but is ready to gamble with a weakened team to keep his big guns fresh for Sunday's north London derby.

Goal.com understands that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be handed his Champions League debut and only his second senior start if Arteta is left out, while Marouanne Chamakh, who has started only two games this season, is set to stand in for Van Persie.

Arteta has missed only eight minutes of Arsenal's four matches following his deadline day move from Everton, while skipper Van Persie has maintained his prolific form of last season with five goals in eight games.

Wenger is mindful of keeping the key pair fresh, especially given Van Persie's injury history and the long-term absence of Jack Wilshere, which has placed further emphasis on Arteta staying fit.

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Arsenal are already without a string of first-team regulars as their injury crisis shows little sign of abating.

Laurent Koscielny, as revealed by Goal.com, and Gervinho were both ruled out on Tuesday, although they should join Theo Walcott in being fit to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Arsenal were already without Johan Djourou, Thomas Vermaelen and Sebastien Squillaci, while rookie centre-half Ignasi Miquel was injured during the warm-up before Monday's reserve game against Blackburn Rovers. Midfielders Yossi Benayoun and Abou Diaby are also out.

Alex Song is set to drop back and partner Per Mertesacker in central defence, while Emmanuel Frimpong and Tomas Rosicky will join Aaron Ramsey in midfield.


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