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TEAM: My Preferred Starting XI To Take On Stoke – No Wilshere
Arsenal face a tricky trip to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday to face Stoke City, and here’s my preferred team.
Arsene Wenger confirmed at his press conference earlier that both Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs are doubts for the game meaning we have a potential problem at left-back.
I’m going to go on the assumption that neither Monreal or Gibbs will be passed fit, so i’d like to see Thomas Vermaelen start at left-back after Wenger also confirmed that the Belgian is back in the squad after recovering from a calf injury.
While Sagna or even Flamini are alternatives, I think Vermaelen will give us added height and physicality that will be important against Stoke. Otherwise, the back five will remain unchanged.
In midfield I’d go with Arteta and Flamini and drop Jack Wilshere to the bench. I’d do this for two reasons. Firstly, this isn’t the ideal game for a player like Jack who is susceptible to picking up the odd knock, as the likes of Charlie Adam and Mr Shawcross have been known to leave their mark on players. With a nightmare run of fixtures coming up, the last thing we want is to lose Jack to injury. Secondly, Arteta and Flamini will offer us more physicality in midfield and it’s going to be an important area of the pitch and we need to ensure we win the battle.
Mesut Ozil will return from his one-match sabbatical while I’d go with Cazorla and Rosicky on the wings. The Czech international deserves to keep his place after his performance last week against Sunderland, so The Ox can be introduced in the second half if needed.
So here’s the line-up I’d like to see start:
In reality, I can see Arsene going with Sagna at left-back and Jenkinson at right-back, while I wouldn’t be surprised if Oxlade-Chamberlain also started. Either way, hopefully we should have enough to see off Stoke….
What do you think of my team? What eleven would you pick?