The Gunners are aiming to make it four wins on the bounce when they visit the Britannia on Saturday afternoon, something they haven’t managed to compile all season.
It won’t be easy for the boys though, following a tough test on Wednesday night where Alexis Sanchez managed to eventually get our hearts out of our stomachs.
Three days on and Arsenal tackle a Stoke City side who performed well at Old Trafford in the week, and were unlucky to come away with nothing from the game. Curtis Goff takes a look at how Wenger should line up his starting 11, including a couple of changes with all the information you guys need!
GK – Emiliano Martinez
With three clean sheets in his last three games, Martinez is proving to be more than just the odd replacement between the sticks. The boss confirmed on Friday that Wojech Szczesny will rejoin full training, but will want to rest him until he is fully back to his best. Martinez is proving a point now, and with a man of the match performance against Dortmund, he has gained some real confidence since becoming a regular in the first team.
RB – Callum Chambers
Chambers is really starting to settle in here, and the consistent form on the right flank has proved to be one of our biggest influences. He was the starter point for the late goal against the Saints in the week, with his cross eventually finding its way into the 6-yard box. First choice right back, Matthieu Debuchy, will be returning soon so it’s up to Chambers to give Wenger a selection headache.
CB – Per Mertesacker
Per is beginning to find his head again following the return of his counterpart Laurent Koscielny. Per will be a vital component in the Gunners defence, with Stoke aiming to stick it in the net from set pieces. The big German will want to stay strong and not get carried away at the back, it won’t be a case of holding a high line, he must keep his focus though.
CB – Laurent Koscielny
We saw a Koscielny back to his best on Wednesday night, and the Frenchman will want to continue the dedication he puts in at the back. Stoke will come with a fight on their hands, and the only liability Koscielny has is giving away penalties, where he already stands as the Premier League player to give away the most in 2014.
LB – Kieran Gibbs
Gibbs should come into replace Monreal at the left back position, simply because there will be a number of one on one battles and Gibbs is more likely to keep his head. The English international has impressed this season for both club and country, and his maturity will feature if he is ever bullied off the ball.
CDM – Matthieu Flamini
Strong in the tackle and has a good run of games behind him again. Flamini is working on his discipline but he will surely be tested tomorrow afternoon.
CDM – Aaron Ramsey
The Welshman has been average this season, but is slowly settling into his new role as a defensive player. No longer is he trying too hard to score goals, and in a game where he faces the man who broke his leg all those years ago, Rambo will want nothing more than 3 points and a great performance.
RM – Oxlade Chamberlain
Perhaps the player in this side that deserves his place the most, The Ox has been brilliant recently and was rewarded with a return to the starting 11 against Southampton. He was unlucky not to get a goal throughout the night, and was always busy attacking players down the right flanks. Three out of four players from the Stoke City defence were booked for silly fouls when they faced Manchester United on Tuesday, so Chamberlain will exploit these weaknesses.
CAM – Santi Cazorla
Back in the swing of it, the little Spaniard is loving his football one again! He’s now carried out two man of the match performances in the last three games, and is much more comfortable with playing in the middle of the front three. Wenger has finally realised Santi struggles to get back and defend, so it is more beneficial to have him receiving in the middle and work as a pivot point, controlling the play.
LM – Alexis Sanchez
8 goals in the last 8 games, I don’t exactly need to convince you of why Sanchez needs to be in the starting line up. A squad like Stoke’s have proved to become sloppy and tired in the final 20 minutes of the game, and at this point Sanchez is still running rings around the back four. He proved on Wednesday night he won’t stop until three points are secured, and let’s hope that record continues.
ST – Olivier Giroud
Giroud needs to start this one, for a number of reasons. It’s not that Welbeck has been poor, because he’s actually done everything right, and has been unlucky not to grab more goals in recent fixtures.
Giroud has the aerial ability to beat defenders like Ryan Shawcross, who will attach himself to the Frenchman. Giroud also offers the ability to slow up play, and isn’t afraid to drop into the middle of the park to pick up the ball.
A lot of the play will be dominated in the centre tomorrow afternoon, but for when it comes to the latter stages, bringing Welbeck on will be the breath of fresh air we need. His pace and energy will be shown more than ever, and they’ve already shown us how they can play as a duo.
How It Should Look (4-2-3-1):
C. Chambers P. Mertesacker (c) L. Koscielny K. Gibbs
M. Flamini A. Ramsey
A. O- Chamberlain S. Cazorla A. Sanchez