Arsenal are in the Potteries today hoping to get a rare away win over Arsene Wenger’s serial tormentors Stoke City. Even a point will be enough to take the Gunners back to the top of the table but obviously a win will make our Premier League title challenge look that much stronger.
So in an attempt to avoid the same sort of scenes we saw last season when the boss was heavily abused at the train station by a group of Gooners, the Frenchman will be disappointed not to be able to name Alexis Sanchez in the starting line up or even the subs bench. And with Mesut Ozil apparently having picked up a knock our attacking options are not as strong as we would have liked.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in for the German although he might play on one flank with Campbell in the number 10 role. I think it will be the Ox though, at least from the start.
Our new signing Mohamed Elneny does make the squad but Wenger has started with Mathieu Flamini alongside Aaron Ramsey in the centre of midfield. Other than that the Arsenal starting XI is pretty much as you would expect, with Olivier Giroud leading the line and Campbell and Walcott either side of the big man.
David Ospina returns to the bench after his injury and it is not the strongest looking bunch of subs in an attacking sense. Hopefully we will be ahead in the game before Wenger thinks of making any changes but I am not exactly brimming with confidence.
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Campbell, Oxlade-Chamberlin, Walcott
Subs: Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Arteta, Iwobi.