Arsenal’s new signing Nacho Monreal will make his debut for the club this afternoon with Kieran Gibbs out for up to 6 weeks with a thigh injury. Francis Coquelin is out still, as is captain Thomas Vermaelen, but Mikel Arteta makes his return to the squad having been out for nearly a month.
Stoke’s two deadline day signings won’t be involved. American Brek Shea had to fly back to America to sort out his visa and apparently he has had a foot operation which he is recovering from anyway. Goalkeeper Jack Butland was loaned back to Birmingham for the rest of the season as part of his transfer. Apart from that, Stoke have no new injury problems and Marc Wilson will make his return to football with their reserve team next week having been out since October.
Arsenal could have stolen all three points in midweek against Liverpool despite going 2-0 down. The Gunners need a better performance in defence than what was displayed against Liverpool. Nacho Monreal is in the line-up so hopefully he does a better job at left-back than Andre Santos did. To be honest, he can’t do any worse… surely?!.
Three points are a must today for the Gunners. Stoke have been a bit of a bogey side since coming up to the Premier League in 2008, but that has been more away from home. Arsenal have beaten Stoke in all of the meetings at the Emirates since their promotion 5 years ago.
Sorry the preview is a bit short and a bit late, this is the first chance I’ve had to get online today, so just in time for the game!. Enjoy everyone!.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Diaby, Arteta (c), Wilshere, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud. Subs: Mannone, Santos, Jenkinson, Rosicky, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski.
Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross (c), Wilkinson, Shotton, Whelan, N’Zonzi, Etherington, Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Adam, Whitehead, Kightly, Jones, Owen, Jerome.