Arsenal – Stoke City Preview: Gunners look to re-ignite top four push

Arsenal new boy Nacho Monreal is set to go straight into the starting line-up for the clash against Stoke, with Kieran Gibbs (thigh) ruled out. The 26-year-old is likely to be the Gunners’ only change on Saturday, with Mikel Arteta set to return to the bench after recovering from a calf injury.

Francis Coquelin (hamstring) could return to the squad, but Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) is still ruled out for Arsene Wenger’s side.

Stoke captured the signing of Brek Shea on deadline day, but the 22-year-old must wait on a visa application after overcoming the work permit hurdle that threatened to scupper his move from FC Dallas.

The Potters also bought Jack Butland from Birmingham City, but Asmir Begovic should keep his place in goal, with Tony Pulis likely to keep the same XI that drew with Wigan after QPR failed to capture the signing of Peter Crouch.

  • However, the Gunners have only won two of their last six games at home, and have only registered one victory in the Premier League in five.
  • Santi Cazorla (pictured right) is the only Arsenal player to have started every league game for the Gunners this season.
  • The last two meetings between these sides have been draws; a stalemate at the Emirates in August 2012 and 1-1 at the Britannia Stadium towards the end of last season.
  • Stoke have only won once away from home in the league in 12 attempts this season.
  • The Potters have only picked up one point from their last four Premier League encounters.

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