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PREVIEW: Stoke v Arsenal, Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
Arsenal face their yearly trip to the Britannia Stadium tomorrow as we take on Stoke City hoping to make it three wins on the spin.
Having lost to Swansea and Manchester United, we bounced back with a hard fought 1-0 victory at West Brom last weekend before beating Southampton by the same scoreline on Wednesday thanks to a late winner from Alexis Sanchez.
Those wins have eased the pressure on Arsene Wenger’s shoulders slightly but the knives will be out in force again if we fail to pick up a positive result tomorrow.
Stoke is never an easy place to visit at the best of times but they certainly raise their game a notch when Arsenal come to town and the fans make it even more of a hostile atmosphere with their hatred for our club clear for all to see.
Arsenal should expect nothing different this time around and the Stoke players may be even more up for the game given the fact they’ve lost their last three to Burnley, Liverpool and most recently Man Utd.
Once again, we head into a game with a whole host of injury problems to deal with. Monreal will miss the match with a knee injury but hopefully Gibbs will pass a late fitness test to return at left-back.
Wenger will make a late decision on whether to hand Koscielny his third start in a week as the boss is playing it safe with the defender due to his niggling Achilles problems.
Wojciech Szczesny trained this afternoon so should be back in contention but it would be harsh to drop Martinez as he’s been excellent during the Pole’s absence.
Wilshere and Arteta remain out so Flamini and Ramsey will start in midfield, but Theo Walcott is once again out with a groin injury.
Tomas Rosicky is a doubt with a thigh injury while Yaya Sanogo is also a doubt with a calf problem.
Debuchy could return to the squad on Tuesday but this game comes too soon so he’s on the sidelines along with Ozil and Ospina.
This is the team I’d like to see the boss go with:
Hopefully Gibbs and Kos are passed fit as we’ll be in trouble at the back if not. It’s a huge game for Ramsey. He’s been struggling for form this season and there’s no game I’d rather see him score in than against this lot.
Giroud changed the match on Wednesday when he came on so deserves to start and his physical presence will be vital too. The Frenchman, Welbeck and Sanchez combined well at times in midweek so hopefully we see more of that tomorrow.
Our performances may not have been top class over the past couple of games but we’ve managed to secure 1-0 wins and we do look a lot more solid at the back. I’ts certainly going to be close tomorrow and I think there will be just a goal in it, but I can see us edging this one to keep our mini-run going.
Stoke 1-2 Arsenal COYG!!