The teams have been announced for our trip to the Britannia stadium to face Stoke City, with a couple of surprises thrown our way.
Mesut Özil is mysteriously absent, which is obviously a huge blow. Alexis Sanchez still hasn’t returned, and Wenger doesn’t seem to want to risk even putting him on the bench. There’s a place in the squad for new boy Mohamed Elneny though, who will be hoping to make his first Arsenal appearance.
Petr Cech starts in goal, although David Ospina has returned to the bench after a couple of weeks out. Our back four is as you’d expect, with Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, and Per Mertesacker taking their places.
Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini keep their spots in midfield, although it’s not entirely clear who will be playing ahead of them. Joel Campbell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Theo Walcott all feature, and may interchange across the three attacking midfield roles.
Olivier Giroud’s fine goalscoring form of course sees him leading the line once again, and we’ll need his strength against the Potters.
The likes of Mikel Arteta, Calum Chambers, and Alex Iwobi are on the bench, although the one we all want to see is Elneny.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 17, 2016
The Stoke team is as follows:
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) January 17, 2016
Unfortunately, it looks as though Marko Arnautovic has fully recovered after picking up a knock in their last game, although Xherdan Shaqiri’s absence is a boost.
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Stoke away has always been a tricky game for us, despite the fact that they are far from the same team they were several years ago. They don’t quite stick to the same route one tactics they utilised under Tony Pulis, but they are still a big and powerful side.