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Walcott & Welbeck must shine as Arsenal stars set to miss Leicester clash

Arsenal kickstart the new Premier League season tomorrow evening with the hosting of Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium but the Gunners have a number of issues to think about ahead of the game.

Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Laurent Koscielny all missed Sunday’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea for various reasons and the quartet of stars are likely to be absent again tomorrow evening.

Ozil and Ramsey are both injury doubts ahead of the game, as is a Per Mertesacker who suffered a cut eye in the penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea, and Alexis will also be unavailable due to a slight abdominal strain- which is likely to lead to further speculation on his future.

Koscielny is also unavailable as he continues to serve a suspension following his red card against Leicester City at the back-end of last season, whilst long-term absentees Gabriel Paulista and Santi Cazorla are also unavailable, along with Francis Coquelin.

That leaves some major holes to be filled within Arsenal’s starting XI and it hands the perfect opportunity to the Gunners’ fringe players to make a statement of intent; particularly Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, one of which is likely to start due to the absence of Alexis and Ozil.

Alex Iwobi is expected to feature from the off, leaving one spot left in the attack behind new record-signing Alexandre Lacazette, and both Walcott and Welbeck enter the season with plenty to prove after speculation linking them with exits this summer and question marks raised due to their form in recent seasons.

Both players have struggled to establish themselves in Arsenal’s starting line-up since they moved to North London, with regular injuries sustained, and this season is crucial to the pair ahead of a World Cup year.

Walcott enjoyed a fine campaign last season and now needs to prove he’s good enough to be a regular star for Arsenal, especially with Alexis’ uncertain future, whilst Welbeck needs to shake off his injury problems and shown his worth.

Both England internationals are capable of showing flashes of brilliance but their lack of consistency is a major concern, largely being the main reason why they’ve struggled to establish themselves as regular starters.

With an array of stars absent from Arsenal’s line-up tomorrow, it’s a chance for both players to make a statement of intent in the start of the new campaign and give Arsene Wenger a selection headache for the weeks to come.

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