Arsenal were humbled at the Britannia five weeks back and welcome Stoke City to the Emirates Stadium for another shot at revenge for an away-day humiliation. Arsene Wenger’s side have a good home record against the Potters, but their failures away from home could well haunt a side failing to convert potential into points. Arsenal have to put together a run of positive results if they are to harbor any hopes of a Champions League place and a win against Stoke at home could be the best start to it.
Let’s take a look at the lineup the Gunners could start with.
Goalkeeper – Wozceich Szczesny was fined for smoking in the changing rooms at St. Mary’s but is set to be recalled to the first team. The Polish No.1 is still Arsene Wenger’s best bet in goal.
Defence – Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs.
Arsenal’s first choice back four sees Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny line up at the heart of the defence, while his French compatriot Mathieu Debuchy should provide defensive discipline and attacking thrust down the right flank after being rested for the Hull game. Although Monreal is fit, expect Kieran Gibbs to take his place at left back.
Midfield – Flamini, Rosicky, Cazorla, Sanchez, Walcott.
Mathieu Flamini should come back into the side and take his place in front of the back four. Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky will play in slightly deeper positions in midfield, thanks to Arsenal’s injury crisis. However, with Stoke’s physicality in mind and the fact that Rosicky have received more game time recently, Wenger might opt to play the industrious Coquelin alongside Flamini as a double pivot.
Alexis Sanchez has been in red hot form this campaign and should start on one flank with Wenger having to decide between Theo Walcott and the impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The duo’s pace should unsettle one or two Stoke defenders and make for an enticing watch.
Forward – Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud will start as the lone striker with Danny Welbeck ruled out with a thigh problem. And how Giroud’s height could come in handy against a side the great Sir Alex Ferguson described as the ‘Jolly Green Giants’.