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Stoke City v. Arsenal: match thread

You realize what happens when he scores, right?
You realize what happens when he scores, right?

Sunday 26 August, 2012, 8:30am ET
Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Matchday 2
Tony Pulis' Pre-Match Press Conference: Here

Today sees the Arsenal travel to Staffordshire to take on a side who will up the same sort of aggressiveness and physicality that held us scoreless last week against Sunderland. Both clubs are seeking to gain their first victories of the young season; Arsenal have not won at Stoke since the 1981/1982 season.

In injury news, Laurent Koscielny will be out again as he continues to fight back from a calf injury, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back and named to the substitutes. However, the late news is that both Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski did not travel to Stoke due to failing to pass their respective fitness tests, leaving Vito Mannone between the posts for only the third time in an Arsenal kit, in all competitions, in the past three seasons after spending the better part of the past two seasons on loan at Championship side Hull City. Arsenal is now one Mannone injury away from 19-year-old Damian Martinez playing, who was named to the substitutes twice in early-round cup matches last season, but has yet to ever feature for the first team.

Lastly, Olivier Giroud tips Theo Walcott in the Starting XI, who will deputize the center forward spot while Lukas Podolski starts for Arsenal out wide on the right.

For Stoke, Jermaine Pennant will miss today, as will Dean Whitehead, who is suspended from his double-yellow performance last week and is well on the fast track to being an even-bigger pain in the arse to deal with than Ryan Shawcross. Newly-arrived United States midfielder Geoff Cameron will open up his Stoke career in the starting XI.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross (c), Huth, Wilson; Pennant, Cameron, Whelan, Kightly; Waters, Crouch

Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Jones, Upson, Delap, Shotton, Jerome

Arsenal (4-3-3): Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen Gibbs; Arteta, Diaby, Cazorla; Gervinho, Podolski, Giroud

Subs: Martinez, Santos, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin

We got 511 comments last week in a match thread for a match against a club that put everyone fast asleep, so let's see how many comments we can generate against a club that, from the looks of some of the comments in the preview, you generally feel the same way about as I do. Stealing directly from the other writers today and going forward, please remember to keep image heights at a maximum of 300, always use a subject line, no links to illegal streams and, above all, be kind to one another.