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The English forward will celebrate his new contract by playing on the flank rather than his preferred central striking role while Lukas Podolski looks set to miss out

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Theo Walcott is set to celebrate his new Arsenal contract by starting on the right flank against Chelsea on Sunday, Goal.com understands.

The Gunners are expected to field at least 10 of the 11 starters who knocked Swansea City out of the FA Cup in midweek, with Olivier Giroud spearheading the attack.

Walcott, who started six matches in a row up front while his Arsenal future was in the balance, is poised to start on the right of a front three.

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Manager Arsene Wenger had hoped to recall Lukas Podolski for the crunch clash at Stamford Bridge but the German has been suffering from an illness and did not take part in training on Friday.

If the former Koln forward misses out, the Gunners boss is poised to select an unchanged team.

Francis Coquelin will partner Abou Diaby in central midfield, with Jack Wilshere deployed as the most advanced of the trio, and Santi Cazorla will be fielded on the left of the front three.

Walcott's role will be a subject of debate, given that he made it clear during his long-running contract saga that his preference was to play as a centre forward rather than a wide player.

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