Mikel Arteta will have his preferred central midfield pairing back in contention, while right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu remains doubtful.

Arsenal are back in action in the Premier League as they travel to the Molineux to take on Wolves. With a top-four place at stake, the Gunners are expected to field a strong lineup against the Midlands club.

Mohamed Elneny is the only confirmed absentee after returning from national duty on Tuesday. The midfielder helped his Egypt side progress to the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations and may not be considered for selection for this game.

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Key central midfield pairing Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey return after serving their respective domestic suspensions. The duo is expected to be drafted straight into the starting lineup, having benefited from working together over the winter break period in Dubai.

Arteta’s big dilemma would be to pick the appropriate player at right-back. Takehiro Tomiyasu would have been the unanimous choice, although the Japan international is yet to be deemed fully fit to play. He aggravated an existing calf issue against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semifinal second leg at the Emirates last month.

Arteta was asked about the right-back in his pre-game press conference, and without explicitly ruling him out, the manager said, “He’s there. He had a recurring injury in the same place so we have to be careful with him but he’s been training hard. Let’s see if he’s available or not.”

It does leave a decision to be made as Arteta has Cedric Soares at his disposal. However, in previous games, the manager has picked Ben White to play in the position, with Rob Holding slotting in as one of the central defenders. With Cedric looking sharp in training pictures and videos posted on Arsenal’s social media, the Portuguese might get the nod.

Aaron Ramsdale should start in goal, while Cedric, Ben White, Gabriel and Kieran Tierney ought to form the backline for the Gunners. Rob Holding and even Tomiyasu might make it to the bench for the Wolves clash.

Partey and Xhaka are the undisputed choices in central midfield. Albert Sambi Lokonga, who did so well deputising in their absence, will be placed on the bench. Martin Odegaard will be hoping to create chances for his attackers from an advanced midfield position, with the player of the month Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka on either side of him.

Arteta also confirmed that Alexandre Lacazette would be the captain for the foreseeable future. The Frenchman will lead the line, with Eddie Nketiah on the bench.

Arsenal Predicted XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette

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