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Stoke City will welcome Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal to the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon, in match-week two of the 2017/18 Premier League.
The Potters’ campaign started off on a disappointing note, as they were defeated 1-0 by Everton away from home at the Goodison Park last weekend and manager Mark Hughes will be keen on getting off the mark in the points column at the earliest possible. However, the Gunners, who defeated Leicester City 4-3 in their opening fixture, will present a stern test for Stoke.
Midfielders Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland are the only absentees for the Potters while new signing Jese Rodriguez from Paris Saint-Germain may feature from the bench.
The England international will be hoping to have a strong season this time, with an eye on next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The loanee from Chelsea will have a point to prove to his parent club and a strong performance against Arsenal will do just that.
The captain of the club will occupy the central position in Hughes’ three-man backline. Will be tasked with keeping Alexandre Lacazette quiet.
The Dutchman finally completed his long-protracted move back to the Bet365 earlier this week, after a successful loan spell last season. Should straight away walk into the starting line-up.
The Senegalese attacker started the previous game as the wing-back on the right flank and is expected to retain his spot in the playing XI.
The former Liverpool and Swansea City man is a permanent fixture in the middle of the park for the Potters, after an impressive debut campaign last time around.
The summer addition will bring a lot of top level experience and winning mentality to the Stoke side, along with his expansive range of passing. Ideal partner for Allen.
The left-sided wingback slot will be occupied by Erik Pieters. The Dutchman was one of the better performers last season and will want to carry on strongly.
The Switzerland international is arguably Stoke City’s biggest threat in attack and expect him to cause a few worries to the Gunners’ backline.
The former Barcelona man spent the second half of last season away on loan, but is back into the manager’s scheme of things. Will occupy the inside of the left channel in the attack.
The 24-year old has struggled since his January arrival at Stoke and is yet to open his goal-scoring account for the Potters. There will be few better opponents than Arsenal for him to change that.