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PREVIEW: Arsenal vs Stoke, Team News, Starting XI & Prediction
Arsenal will be out to avenge our disappointing 3-2 loss at the Britannia when we take on Stoke City at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
It was a painful opening 45 minutes at Stoke last month when they embarrassed us by going in 3-0 up at half-time. We did get ourselves back in the game with two second half goals but couldn’t prevent another defeat at the Britannia.
Thankfully, our record at the Emirates against them is excellent, as we’ve won the last 12 on the spin, so hopefully we can continue that run tomorrow.
We warmed up for the game with a routine 2-0 win over Hull in the FA Cup last week but that result came shortly after a disappointing 2-0 loss at Southampton, so hopefully we’ve got that display out our system.
The big news is that Mesut Ozil is back in contention after three months out with a serious knee injury. Arsene hasn’t decided whether he’ll start him but I think we’ll see him on the bench.
Aaron Ramsey is expected to start though having recovered from a hamstring injury while Mathieu Flamini is also available again after shaking off a groin problem. But I’d like to see Coquelin keep his place as he’s been excellent in recent games – bar the odd crazy tackle.
Danny Welbeck is still unavailable with a thigh problem so he joins Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere in missing the game, but Olivier Giroud is back from suspension so should start up front.
Theo Walcott looked a little rusty against Hull but his runs were excellent and he’s only going to get his sharpness back by playing, so I’d keep him in the side on the right wing with Alexis Sanchez on the left.
As I’ve said, our home record against Stoke is superb and although they are always a real threat in the air and from set pieces, I think we’ll get the three points tomorrow. It will be good to see Ozil get at least 30 minutes under his belt and I can’t wait to see him on the same pitch as Sanchez, Walcott and Cazorla!
Arsenal 3-1 Stoke COYG!!!!