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TEAM: Gibbs To Return: Arsenal’s Starting Line-Up To Face Stoke
After last night’s narrow win over Southampton, Arsenal are quickly back in action as we face a tough trip to the Britannia to take on Stoke City on Saturday afternoon. This is the team I’d like to see start the game.
Wojciech Szczesny is facing a late fitness test on a hip injury that’s seen him miss the last three games. Arsene Wenger has hinted that he might be just short again but even if the Pole is passed fit, I think Emi Martinez has done enough to keep his place in goal.
The youngster has performed extremely well since stepping in and has kept three clean sheets in a row, so it would be harsh of Wenger to drop him.
Nacho Monreal came through the ninety minutes last night but he picked up a foot problem early on and was already carrying a knock from the weekend, so I think he’s earned a rest. Gibbs was a doubt for the Southampton game but was named on the bench so he should be available to start on Saturday.
The current 4-1-4-1 formation is working reasonably well but I still think the old 4-2-3-1 fits our players better, so would like to see the boss revert back to this style against Stoke.
With Wilshere and Arteta still out we have very few options in midfield so Falmini and the out-of-form Ramsey will need to start once again in the middle of the park.
The Ox was below par last night and didn’t look 100% fit so it’s probably best he starts on the bench this time out. Our options are pretty limited in attack. Podolski and Rosicky are clearly out-of-favour with the boss so Sanchez and Welbeck will likely start on the wings with Cazorla playing behind the striker.
Giroud completely changed the game last night so deserves to start up front and his physicality will be important against Stoke.
So this is how I’d line-up:
Obviously if Gibbs isn’t fit then Monreal will start at left-back but otherwise this is the eleven I’d go with and I expect Wenger will choose a similar side. Which formation he chooses may be slightly different than how I’ve lined the players up but either way we should have enough to get a result this weekend.