Arsenal obviously want to win every game they play in, but the Premier League games aren’t all that meaningful for the rest of the season. You’d get some pretty decent odds by Coral on Arsenal winning all their games that’s for sure. The Gunners find themselves 13 points outside of the top four with only eight matches left to play. Realistically, they are not making the Champions League via their league placement and will have to hope to win the Europa League. With that said, these games are mostly about figuring out how to get the most out of their new attack. This is only the third game in which Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all fit and eligible to play and the remaining Premier League games will be as much about working out how they can play together as they will be about winning.
While this game may not mean much for Arsenal, it means everything for Stoke City. Stoke find themselves three points from safety having played one more game than the two teams directly above them. The Potters need to start picking up points soon or else their 10-year stay in the top flight could be over. Just because they need points doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily get them though. Stoke are yet to get so much as a point in any of their nine trips to the Emirates Stadium. Paul Lambert, who did beat Arsenal at the Emirates as manager of Aston Villa, will be hoping 10 is the Potters’ lucky number.
Arsenal will be getting Lacazette back from injury after he spent more than a month out after an ankle procedure. They will still be without Santi Cazorla, as he continues to come back from his horrible Achilles injury.
Stoke will be without Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Stephen Ireland, and Lee Grant, but they could get Geoff Cameron back. The American will undergo a late fitness test before the match, according to Physioroom.com. Charlie Adam will also be suspended after his red card in Stoke’s match against Everton.
Arsenal: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Arsenal had a crazy January transfer window. New record signing Aubameyang has started relatively well but has been limited by his ineligibility in the Europa League. Mkhitaryan has had a very strong start to his Arsenal career with two goals and five assists in his first 10 appearances. After registering a hat-trick of assists in his first start for the club, the Armenian scored the crucial first goal in the tie against AC Milan, playing well win both legs of that tie, and assisted another Aubameyang goal as well as scoring one of his own against Watford. Mkhitaryan was a star before his move to Manchester United. So far at the Emirates, he has looked more like the player he was at Borussia Dortmund than the one he was at United, which would be a huge plus for Arsenal.
Stoke City: Xherdan Shaqiri
Shaqiri has been one of the few bright spots for Stoke this season. The Swiss international has seven goals and six assists, contributing to 45% of the team’s goals this season. Stoke will likely need to score multiple goals to beat Arsenal and their only real chance of that happening is if Shaqiri plays well.
Arsenal have been below par this season, but most of their problems have come away from home. They are yet to drop a point at home to a team outside of the top five and should brush Stoke aside, provided they come in focused on the match in front of them and don’t get caught looking ahead to their Europa League game on Thursday.