Wenger still without several players ahead of Stoke trip

Arsenal will be looking to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea as they return to Premier League action at Stoke City.

A whole host of players will be assessed ahead of the game, with Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelan and Kieran Gibbs all in a race to be fit while Kim Kallstrom, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby are definitely out.

The Gunners will return to first place if they win, and Chelsea fail to beat bottom of the table Fulham at Craven Cottage, while a point will be enough to see them go top if the Blues lose by three or more goals while third place Manchester City are playing in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Mail Online understands that Santi Cazorla is set to be offered a new contract alongside Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky.

The Spain international, who turned 29 in December, has made thirty-two appearances in all competitions this season, scoring six goals.

The new deal is expected to see the former Villareal man’s wages increase to around £80,000 per week, and will keep the midfielder at the Emirates until the summer of 2017.

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