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Arsenal v Stoke Preview: Team News, Preferred XI, Prediction
After another excellent away victory over Marseille in midweek, we get back to Premier League action when Stoke City come to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The win in France made it 10 away wins on the bounce which is a truly unbelievable achievement. If we could get our home form sorted we’ll be challenging for honours this season, that’s for sure.
We currently sit second in the league table, despite our disastrous start against Aston Villa, and could be four points behind leaders Liverpool by the time we kick off on Sunday so nothing but three points against the Potters will do.
We know they are going to be physical. Tony Pulis may have left but Mark Hughes will enjoy nothing more than to ‘rough us up’ and try to put one over his old pal Wenger, so there’s no excuses not to be prepared for what we know we’re in for.
We can’t talk about Stoke without mentioning a certain ‘good old fashioned English defender’ – Ryan Shawcross – and his ‘clumsy’ challenge on Aaron Ramsey. It’s been three years since that horrific day and thankfully we’re now seeing the best of Rambo. He’s in the form of his life and hopefully that will continue on Sunday. How sweet would it be if he scored the winner?
The good news is that Mikel Arteta could be in contention to make his first start of the season. The midfielder hasn’t played yet this term due to a thigh injury but the boss has confirmed that the Spaniard took part in full training on Friday and his fitness will be assessed on Saturday ahead of the Stoke clash.
If passed fit, I don’t think Mikel will start just yet. He’ll most likely be among the subs, perhaps get 20 minutes then start against WBA in midweek.
We have no fresh injury concerns meaning it’s likely to be a similar, if not identical, line-up to the team that faced Marseille. Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen and Carl Jenkinson are all pushing for starts but it’s likely they will be saved to play in the Cup in midweek.
Santi Cazorla is still three weeks away from fitness so he’s still on the sidelines along with Lukas Podolski, Abou Diaby, Yaya Sanogo, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky.
I’m confident we’ll continue our excellent run and ease past a stubborn Stoke side. Let’s just hope we get through the game without any fresh injuries and three points! Arsenal 2-0 Stoke.
Do you think we’ll beat Stoke? What would your team be?