A streak was snapped last season. A streak that became synonymous with Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger. A streak that captured the media’s attention. For fans of a club so filled with drama, it was comforting to know, despite all the craziness and inconsistencies, we had this to look forward to each year. Though we all knew it would have to end one day, it was still shocking when reality sunk in. Yes, Arsenal finished outside of the top four in the Premier League for the first time since the ‘95/96 season, but I’m talking about the fact that ARSENAL WON AWAY AT STOKE CITY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2010.
And after their nervy, thrilling, come from behind, 4-3 victory over Leicester City in the Premier League opener last Friday, Arsenal will try to win at Stoke once again.
Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi are available to play this weekend, giving Wenger more options to choose from defensively. I expect at least one of the two, if not both, to start against Stoke City. Laurent Koscielny will definitely be out; he’s serving the last game of his suspension. Up front, Alexis Sanchez is still out, though he should be ready to play against Liverpool next weekend. Francis Coquelin is also back in the squad.
Meanwhile, Stoke is coming off a narrow, 1-0 defeat to Everton in a rather dull match:
Stoke made some news on Wednesday, announcing the signing of Jese Rodriguez on loan from PSG. Jese struggled in Paris after his move there from Real Madrid last summer, but the winger should help Stoke replace Marko Arnautovic, who became West Ham’s record signing last month. Stoke also brought in winger Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting and midfielder Darren Fletcher earlier this summer on free transfers from Schalke and West Brom, respectively. Mark Hughes strengthened his back line as well, signing Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea. Bruno Martins Indi was also signed on a permanent transfer from Porto. Martins Indi was on loan at Stoke last season and made 35 appearances for the Potters.
Chupo-Moting, Fletcher, and Zouma made their debuts last weekend, but Mark Hughes said earlier today that Martins Indi and Jese will be in the squad against Arsenal. Julien Ngoy is the only new injury for Stoke; the young Belgian striker will be out for 5-6 weeks with a pulled thigh.
Can Arsenal make it two wins out of two to start the season? What would your starting XI be? Let us know your predictions down below!
WHAT: Arsenal vs. Stoke City
WHEN: Saturday, August 18, 2017 I 12:30 PM EST/9:30 AM PT/5:30 PM BST
WHERE: bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent
US TV: NBC
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