It might feel like the games are coming thick and fast at the moment, but that doesn’t change the importance of each and every one of them.
It will be important for Arsene Wenger to manage his squad well this weekend especially, having picked up back-to-back 2-0 victories over United and Southampton.
The Gunners boss will now face a big decision on whether to stick with a similar side that’s put those performances together, or use some fresher legs on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal travel to the Bet365 Stadium to face a Stoke City side that always seem to make things tough when welcoming the big boys.
One thing that Wenger has got in his locker though is a group of players that are fit and ready to go, with just two absentees to deal with against Mark Hughe’s side.
Arsenal Team News
There was some positive news during Wenger’s pre-match press conference after confirming Laurent Koscielny is back in contention to play.
The vice-captain has been in training all week but was rested against the Saints as a precaution, so he could return to take Shkodran Mustafi’s place.
Despite pulling up early in mid-week, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s hamstring injury isn’t as bad as first feared and he’ll target the FA Cup final on May 27th as a return date.
Danny Welbeck and Granit Xhaka are both in full training contrary to reports they were suffering fatigue issues, whilst Lucas Perez will make a case for a place on the bench.
Arsenal Absentees: S. Cazorla (ankle), A. Ox-Chamberlain (hamstring)
Arsenal’s Likely Line-Up
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Central Defence: Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding
Wing-Backs: Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal
Central Midfield: Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey
Attacking Midfield: Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil
Centre Forward: Olivier Giroud
Stoke City Team News
It’s fairly straight forward for Mark Hughes’ team selection this weekend, with no fresh injury concerns to deal with we should know what to expect from Stoke.
Ibrahim Afellay underwent surgery earlier this year and won’t play any part in the rest of Stoke’s season, whilst Stephen Ireland is also a long-term absentee.
Stoke will be celebrating their final game at home this season so don’t expect them to roll over and accept a mid-table finish – especially when faced against Arsenal.
The Potters have a long-run hatred for us and it will be apparent when they know they have the ability to stop us from getting a top four finish.
Stoke’s Absentees: I. Afellay (knee), S. Ireland (leg)
Stoke City Likely Line-Up
Goalkeeper: Jack Butland
Defence: Glenn Johnson, Bruno Martins Indi, Ryan Shawcross, Marc Muniesa
Defensive Midfield: Glenn Whelan, Geoff Cameron
Attacking Midfield: Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen, Marco Arnautovic
Centre Forward: Mame Biram Diouf