Stoke City v Arsenal
TV: BT Sports 1
Arsenal will travel to the bet365 stadium this Saturday, taking on Mark Hughes’ Stoke City. After dramatically edging past Leicester City in their season opener; and after falling behind twice, the Gunners will be looking to win their first two Premier League games for the first time in seven seasons.
The pressure is on Welshman Hughes’ to start this season strong. The Potters disappointing season last year was kickstarted by an embarrassing run of form at this stage of the season; taking just three points from their first seven outings. After a defeat to Everton last week, Stoke need to grab this game, and their season by the horns.
Arsenal have not lost to Stoke City since 2014 however Arsenal seem to struggle at the bet365 stadium, beating the Potters just once in their last 7 trips North. Manager Hughes’ has the worst record against Wenger of any manager in the league; losing to the Frenchman 13 times in his career.
Stoke have bolstered their misfiring attack with the loan signing of Jese from PSG, meaning they now have more Champions League winners in their squad than any other premier league team. Jese, and Cameroonian Eric Choupo-Moting will both be pushing for their first starts of the season.
With Laurent Koscielny serving the final game of his three match ban, Stoke have a real chance of some home goals even without injured Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland. Many question about Stoke’s defence remain unanswered from last season. Loanee Bruno Martins-Indi signed a permanent contract, however even with the big Dutchman last season, the Potters conceded 56 goals last term, their worst since promotion in 2008.
Arsenal’s exciting new signing; Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette and compatriot super sub Olivier Giroud will most likely cause problems Stoke’s dubious defence, even with the loaning of Kurt Zouma from Chelsea.
Aaron Ramsey will most likely partner Granit Xhaka in defensive midfield, and this game will come just too soon for Alexis Sanchez who will most likely not feature. Mustafi was an unused sub last week, and will most likely start this week, with Mesut Ozil, Franics Coquelin, Jack Wilshere and Per Mertesacker all having participated in training, and could feature.
New summer signing Sead Kolasinac was excellent at the Emirates last week, however his attacking threat was somewhat wasted at centre half, meaning Arsene Wenger may shift the Bosnian to his preferred left side of the Arsenal defence.
Written by Ed Martin.