Arsenal will be looking to secure their first home win of the Premier League season when they host Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
Kick Off: 15:00 Saturday 12th September (BST)
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Last Season: Arsenal 3-0 Stoke City
Arsenal: Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for this weekends game and could yet miss a few more weeks. Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck will be out until 2016. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will both be fit and available for the fixture, but Gabriel Paulista’s good form may see one of them sit out. Everyone else appears to have come through the international break unscathed.
Stoke City: Ryan Shawcross continues to be unavailable, whilst Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Affelay are suspended.
Arsenal need nothing less than a win when they host Stoke in the clubs first 3pm kick off of the season. After failing to score in both of the clubs opening home fixtures, goals will be the priority to the Gunners.
Walcott was poor as a striker against Newcastle, whilst Giroud offered little more from the bench. Arsene Wenger could decide to give Alexis Sanchez another chance through the middle as the team lack variation in that position following the latest injury to Danny Welbeck.
I think Wenger may opt to keep Gabriel in the starting line up ahead of Mertesacker, the Brazilian will be confident of breaking into the first eleven this season.
Walcott, Alexis or Giroud? Ramsey, Walcott or Chamberlain? Ramsey or Cazorla? Wenger has some big decisions to make when choosing his first eleven, especially in central midfield, right midfield and up front. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are nailed on starters in the attacking midfield trio.
One to watch: Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Alexis; Giroud
Arsenal are heavy favourites for this clash with the bookies, but you would be foolish to completely write off Stoke’s chances. The Premier League has seen very few home wins this season including none from the Emirates yet. Whilst Stoke have just two points from four games, with the likes of Xhedran Shaqiri, they have players who can really hurt the Gunners.
Stoke will be without suspended duo Ibrahim Affelay and Charlie Adam. Affelay’s ban was reduced from three games to two games following an appeal from the club. Ryan Shawcross is long term absentee.
Bojan could return to the starting line up and the Gunners only have bad memories of the Spaniard from last season. In the reverse fixtures, Bojan ripped Arsenal’s defence apart, hopefully they will be more aware of his qualities on Saturday, if he does indeed start.
One to watch: Xhedran Shaqiri
Stoke City XI (4-3-1-2): Butland; Johnson, Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters; Whelan, van Ginkel; Shaqiri, Bojan, Arnautovic; Diouf