Arsene Wenger has revealed Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are finally fit again after returning to training this week, with the latter available for selection for the first time in months.
Anyway, let’s start with the hard part. Mr Wojciech Szczesny has been making the headlines recently after his smoking in the shower antics but Wenger has brushed it off as a ‘mistake’.
While many fans are calling for David Ospina to start between the sticks after his simple clean sheet against Hull City, we are keeping with the Poland international. Szczesny is better in the air and put on a brilliant performance against the combative West Ham. Stoke City are strong from set pieces and are a team who are about as aerial as you get.
The back four is a simple choice of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs. In midfield it gets a little more tricky. Personally, I’ve gone for Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky in midfield. Plenty more dynamism than a Coquelin-Flamini partnership which seems probable. With Ramsey only just returning to training it’s likely he will miss out from the start.
Cazorla is a definite starter. The Spaniard has been exceptional and is a smarter choice at No10 than the even more lightweight Ozil who has been missing since October but will make the bench.
Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez will probably occupy the wings, a week of just training will have done the duo some good, hopefully improving Walcott’s sharpness and offering Alexis some rest.
Olivier Giroud will almost certainly spearhead the attack after returning from his suspension. A very strong side all in all, and certainly enough quality to play Stoke City off the park.
Here is our predicted lineup:
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