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Preview: Stoke v Arsenal, team news, line-up + prediction

By on May 12, 2017

Laurent-Koscielny arsenal

Arsenal can put the pressure on Liverpool with a win over Stoke City when we head to the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday night.

After beating Manchester United last weekend we went to St Marys in midweek and came away with an impressive 2-0 victory to keep alive our hopes of playing Champions League football next year.

The results have left us sitting fifth in the table – four points behind Liverpool with a game in hand – so we can move to within just a point with a win ahead of their trip to West Ham on Sunday.

If the Merseysiders slip-up, we can then take control of fourth place by beating relegated Sunderland at the Emirates next Tuesday so it’s vital we beat Stoke tomorrow night.

However, that’s not going to be easy as we’ve won just one of our last eight trips to the Britannia making it statistically our second worst ground to visit behind Old Trafford.

Team News

Koscielny will face a late fitness test on a calf injury that kept him out of the Southampton game but he trained today so hopefully he’ll be passed fit.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss out after suffering a hamstring injury at St Marys in midweek so Hector Bellerin will come back in to the side in the right wing-back role.

As for Stoke, they have virtually a full-fit squad to choose from with Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland their only two long-term injuries.

Preferred line-up

I’d love to see a back three of Holding, Koscielny and Mustafi with Monreal moving out to the left side. Bellerin will come in for The Ox but otherwise I’d stick with the winning formula.

football formations

Prediction

Stoke are a horrible side for Arsenal to play and the Britannia will be rocking on a Saturday night. It’s got ‘nightmare’ written all over it but hopefully the players are ready and up for the challenge. We’ve ground out impressive wins over United and Southampton but this is arguably going to be the biggest test of the three. If we can nick three points, I fancy us to finish fourth. I’m backing Arsenal to edge it. Stoke 1-2 Arsenal

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