The transfer window has finally been closed, business done (loaning Fringe lads), we got one (Nacho Monreal) and one got away (David villa) but all hopes not lost on that one.
Time to forget all the ups and downs of January and move on to February with our first game welcoming the almighty stoke to the Emirates Stadium.
The Team will be fresh from their survival act against the Reds (Liverpool) and a win will help close the gap on the wannabe’s Tottenham, who will play West Brom away on Sunday. Meanwhile, The Potters are in free-fall after a promising start to the season and have just 1 win in their last 9 league games.
The reverse fixture at the Britannia earlier in the season ended in a goalless draw with both teams failing to score.
Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to secure a draw against Liverpool in midweek but the managed only 1 win in our last 5 league games in January leaving us far behind both Manchester club and Chelsea, still four points adrift of fourth placed Tottenham and one point behind fifth place Everton.
Kieran Gibbs is set to miss out for the next 4 to 6 weeks with a thigh strain and Wenger had to buy cover due to the unimpressive form of André Santos. Mikel Arteta is available for selection while Francis Coquelin
Is close to returning from injury.
It will be interesting to see though if Wenger rushes Arteta back into the playing eleven, or sticks with largely the same side he put out against Liverpool. Thomas Vermaelen is a slight doubt for the game, with his ankle not having recovered fully from the knock it took from Ramsey in the West Ham encounter 10 days ago.
4-2-3-1: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker,
Vermaelen, Monreal, Wilshere, Diaby, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud.
Wenger surely has plenty of options for this crucial game, and I think he’ll rush Nacho Monreal straight into the starting eleven if his fitness permits. Vermaelen’s injury could force the manager into playing Laurent Koscielny alongside Per Mertesacker in central defence.
Aaron Ramsey might make way for Abou Diaby in this game with Wenger perhaps opting for a more physical player to tackle with Stoke’s bruising attack unit. Arteta might start from the bench and come on for the last 15 minutes.
Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Walcott are expected to line-up behind the lone striker Giroud.
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