Before the Arsenal first team took on and beat Marseille in the first Champions League group game last night, the under 19 version of the Gunners put their French equivalents to the sword with an emphatic 4 – 1 win. It was an excellent performance from the youngsters, and Serge Gnabry’s double may well have earned him a place in the squad for the Stoke game on Sunday.
Gnabry came off with around 20 minutes to play, and the injury problems affecting Arsenal could mean a place on the bench for the young German. He will probably be joined by our 20-year old Japanese international Ryo Miyaichi. Ryo came on for the last few minutes last night, replacing Flamini, and is the only real option available to Arsene Wenger on the left flank.
The same could be said of 18-year old Gnabry on the right. I expect us to start with the same team as last night, to be honest there is not a great deal of choice, especially on the attacking side. However, as we know, Stoke City are always a fairly physical side, increasing the chances of one or two Gunners being on the end of a `robust` challenge or two.
Yaya Sanogo may also be back in the squad, because Sunday was the date he was supposed to be able to return, according to physioroom.com. Again, if he is in the squad, he will be the only spare striker available to the boss. Hopefully, of course, he won’t be needed, but it will make life more relaxed to have him on the bench.