I have to admit, this fixture stirs something inside of me that I honestly don't think I feel in any other fixture in the Premier League. Don't get me wrong, there are no better historical clashes than the London Derby or our battles against Manchester United and now Chelsea. But at least there is a degree of respect there from all sides. This fixture, especially at the Britannia has been one filled with plenty of incident and I need not get into how it all began in the first place. But at the end of the day the most important thing will be the points come the final whistle. While we have spanked them continually at the Emirates, we have only won, one game out of seven at the home of the Orcs.
At some point we are going to have to change that statistic. Stoke City have depended on home form over the years but this season they have been stronger away from the Britannia, I hope that is a good sign. Even if home form hasn't been their strength this season you can be sure that the atmosphere will be as hostile as it's ever been. The Stoke City fans still feel outraged that we were upset when one of our players had his leg broken.
But enough of all that, looking at the team news doesn't bring much joy this morning. Injuries are relentlessly attacking us once more. Nacho Monreal has torn ankle ligaments. Yaya Sanogo who had just returned us back on the treatment table once more along side the experienced Tomas Rosicky. Poor old Tomas by the way, it's so very sad to see him cast aside the way he has been. If his injury issues are not too serious then we can expect a return to full team duties soon with the amount of fixtures we have stacked up over Christmas.
Koscielny will have his persistent inflamed achilles assessed but you suspect he will have to play today and then rest in the CL. I think Alexis needs a rest, he hasn't been at his best for our last three fixtures but again I think he will gambled on.
I'm pretty sure both Welbeck and Giroud will start together today. Stoke City are the tallest side in the Premier League while Arsenal are the shortest so it would make sense to include our two big strikers for set pieces.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up
As mentioned above, Stoke City are the biggest team in the league yet they do not have more than one set piece goal to date so you just know that it's coming today. While we're playing the averages game, I wonder what the odds are for non scoring Aaron Ramsey to get back on the goal trail today.
Not really any time for anything detailed today so enjoy the game and here is to three points.. hopefully.