For Stoke City’s first home game of the season they welcome Arsenal to a refurbished Bet365 stadium.
After being embarrassed by a rejuvenated Arsenal side at the back end of last season, Stoke will be looking for revenge.
- Stoke City vs Arsenal
- Premier League
- Saturday August 19th
- 17:30 BST
- Live on BT sport 1
Tweak to the venue
After years of talking about it since joining the Premier league, Stoke have finally filled in one of the three empty corners at the Bet 365. The capacity of the ground has now gone above 30,000. What better game than Arsenal at home to have a few thousand-extra rowdy Stoke fans.
Stoke started slow in the window but have recently gained pace. Early signings of Darren Fletcher and young fullback Josh Tymon felt shrewd, if uninspiring. Stoke then had a lot of departing players with the sales of Glenn Whelan, Jon Walters and Phil Bardsley. None of which were guaranteed starters, but did all bring something to the squad.
But the window started to hot up for Stoke after the £25 million sale of star man Marko Arnautovic. The price was a sweetener but the destination of league rivals West Ham left a bitter taste in the fans of Stoke.
This caused worry that our squad had weakened but all of a sudden, the signings came in. Kurt Zouma on loan, Bruno Martins-Indi finally coming permanently, Eric Choupo-Moting on a free and most recently Jese Rodriguez on loan.
Arsenal’s transfer window has been more about worrying about departures than signing exciting players. Obviously, the signing of Lacazette already appears to be a good one, But the potential departure of Alexis Sanchez could be detrimental to any hopes for the season.
Sead Kolasinac appears to have added some physicality to the side and even appeared an attacking threat in their opener against Leicester. Rumors recently suggest long time target Julian Draxler is available, a possible replacement for the long-suffering Santi Cazorla.
Stoke will be without long term absentees Steven Ireland and Ibrahim Afellay. Young forward Julien Ngoy has also picked up an injury ruling him out for over a month. Otherwise Stoke have a fully available squad and exciting new boy Jese Rodriguez is set to make his debut.
Arsenal will be without Koscielny as he finishes his last of a three-match ban. Alexis Sanchez will also be absent with an abdominal injury, while rumors still circulate about his Arsenal future.
Stoke looking for a reaction
After Arsenal’s 4-1 trouncing of Stoke here in May, the Potters need to put in a much stronger performance. New signings could help but more than anything they need the fans. Arsenal have historically struggled in Stoke due to the ferocity the fans support put into the team.
Stoke: Butland, Zouma, Shawcross, Martins-Indi, Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters, Jese, Shaqiri, Berahino
Arsenal: Cech, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Monreal, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette
On current form Arsenal should edge this one. But if the Stoke crowd get the team fired up enough anything could happen in this game. A controversial decision early on and this game could ignite and go either way.