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Despite showing early promises under newly appointed boss Paul Lambert, Stoke City are now without a win in their last seven outings. Two back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Everton have sent the Potters closer to a surprise relegation. They are currently 19th in the league standings with 7 haha to go.
Stoke now have a monumental task ahead of them to retain their top-flight status which they have maintained with distinction since being promoted a decade ago.
The Staffordshire outfit will be traveling to North London this Sunday afternoon in a tricky away encounter against big boys Arsenal at Emirates Stadium. It won’t be easy to snatch three points on the road against the Gunners but Lambert’s men have no option but to go for a win if they wish to script an escape.
Stoke City have a few absentees for the Arsenal game due to injuries and suspensions. Charlie Adam received his marching orders against Everton and is now suspended for the weekend encounter. Lee Grant and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are ruled out due to their respective Injuries. Stephen Ireland will go through a late fitness test.
Geoff Cameron is also a doubt due to a thigh strain and will go through a late fitness test ahead of the Sunday game.
Paul Lambert has tried several formations since taking over from Mark Hughes. He has lined up the Potters in a 4-1-4-1 and also in a 4-2-3-1 set-up at times but is likely to stick to the 4-3-3 pattern, similar to the recent outings.
Back at his club after representing the Three Lions against Italy during the international break, he will be keen on regaining his form between the sticks following some erroneous displays in recent fixtures.
The former Liverpool full-back has become a fringe player this season but was handed a rare start against the Toffees last gameweek. His experience might come in handy here.
Shawcross is an ever-present figure in the Stoke XI. A sure starter.
The Chelsea loanee has not lived up to the expectations despite featuring regularly in the Stoke City defence. However, he will try to end the season on a higher note by avoiding a Championship demotion.
The Augsburg loanee has replaced Erik Pieters at left-back since joining the club in winter and is likely to continue until the season reaches its conclusion.
The veteran Scotsman was a regular starter earlier this season but has lost his place in recent weeks. However, he might be recalled for first-team action.
Allen has not reproduced his last season’s form but is still the main man in the Potters midfield. He will control the flow from a central role and should offer his presence in and around the box with his timely runs.
The ex-Galatasaray midfielder completed a winter switch from the Turkish giants and is likely to offer physicality in the midfield by winning back possession and holding on to the ball.
The Swiss sensation has been the only bright spark in a gloomy Stoke City side this season. He will be looking to continue his good form.
The Egyptian has not lived up to the expectations yet but this is another opportunity for him to impress his gaffer.
Crouch should start this game considering the Gunners’ weakness against aerial threat. The veteran can still cause some damage on his day.