Arsenal travel to Stoke City on Saturday night to continue their push for a top 4 position
The Gunners are on a good run of form, having won 5 and lost 1 of their last 6 games and have a realistic chance of sealing a top 4 spot but they cannot afford to drop any more points and will be looking for a victory at the bet365 stadium.
Arsenal will most probably have to deal with the absence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who picked up a hamstring injury during the Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Southampton in midweek but Hector Bellerin will be a more than able replacement for the in-form Englishman.
Shkodran Mustafi returned from a thigh problem and started against Southampton, however Laurent Koscielny faces a late test to see if he will be able to play a part against the Potters. Speaking ahead of the match, Arsene Wenger confirmed that Koscielny was a doubt while also admitting that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury was down to fatigue.
“He [Koscielny] has got a small chance. He was not far. He practised on Tuesday but it was risky to play him at Southampton,” he said. “It’s [Chamberlain’s injury] a minor hamstring problem. It was tight, but it was more fatigue. “
Danny Welbeck has started Arsenal’s last two Premier League fixtures up front but given Stoke’s physical approach whenever they face Arsene Wenger’s side, Olivier Giroud could get the not ahead of the Englishman.
Stoke City could be without Saido Berahino – who has still not scored a single goal for the club since joining the Potters in January – who is still feeling the effects of an illness he was hit by in the build-up to last weekend’s match at Bournemouth.
Berahino was named on the bench in that fixture but was remained an unused substitute and should the 23 year old miss out again, Mame Biram Diouf will likely start up front against the Gunners.
Stephen Ireland and Ibrahim Afellay continue to be long-term absentees for Mark Hughes’ side, while Geoff Cameron could start ahead of Charlie Adam in central midfield if Hughes opts to go for a more defensive approach, which is likely.
Provisional Stoke squad: Butland, Grant, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Johnson, Pieters, Bardsley, Muniesa, Cameron, Whelan, Adam, Imbula, Allen, Shaqiri, Arnautovic, Sobhi, Walters, Crouch, Berahino, Diouf, Bony
Provisional Arsenal squad: Cech, Ospina, Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Iwobi, Sanchez, Perez, Welbeck, Giroud