Arsenal will be hoping to continue their positive run of results against Stoke on Sunday but it’s likely that Arsene Wenger will field a rotated side.
Stoke are currently (hilariously) locked in a relegation battle, which means Wenger probably won’t worry about putting out his strongest starting XI at Ashburton Grove this weekend.
Three points to help them on their way to the Championship, especially given what happened in the match earlier this season, would be lovely.
Although Arsenal need to string some wins together in the Premier League, there’s no way they’ll finish in the top four, so there’s no need to risk players unnecessarily.
Arsenal’s best chance of winning something this season is the Europa League, which means that’s the competition Wenger needs to focus on.
The Frenchman took similar action against Watford last time out and Arsenal still won 3-0 so I doubt he will be that worried against Stoke.
Nacho Monreal has returned from his back injury and should start against the Potters.
Laurent Koscielny featured for France over the international break but don’t rule out Wenger giving him a rest to make sure he is fit for the Europa League game on Thursday. Calum Chambers could well replace him.
Shkodran Mustafi is fit and rested after being dropped for this international break.
Hector Bellerin seems to have recovered from his ankle problem so while we could see him rested again against Stoke, I still believe Wenger will give him the nod.
Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny carried their good club form into the international break and they will both likely get the nod to start against Stoke on Sunday.
Jack Wilshere is said to be fit and he might be busting to play to prove that he’s not an injury risk for anyone willing to pay him the £100kpw he wants. Given that Wenger wants him to stay, expect the Frenchman to bow to Wilshere’s wishes for this game.
Aaron Ramsey underwent a small procedure to help fix his groin problem but is back in training. That being said, the club may want to be more cautious with his return, ensuring he’s available for Thursday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will once again start up front with Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan behind him. Alexandre Lacazette is fit again after his knee problem but as our only competent striker for Thursday, I don’t expect him to be risked for the full 90 minutes.
Iwobi hasn’t been fantastic recently but, in Wenger’s current system, there’s not much of a choice if he wants to rest other players.