Stoke City v Arsenal: Who Would You Start?

Stoke City
during the Premier League match between XXX and XXX at Bet365 Stadium on May 13, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England.

The 2017-18 Premier League season is only one match-day old, with Arsenal one for one so far. Tomorrow they will travel to a familiar foe to try and make it two wins from two. Stoke City will host the Gunners in another edition of what I like to call the ‘Aaron Ramsey Derby’.

Stoke City v Arsenal Projected Starting XI

As veteran Gooners know, Stoke fans have a penchant for booing the Welsh midfielder due to the infamous 2009 incident with Ryan Shawcross. Because after all if a player has the nerve to get his leg broken by a dirty tackle, he’s just asking to be jeered right?!?!

But, anyway, let’s take a look at who should start versus the Potters and why.

Starting XI

Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Mertesacker, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Coquelin, Welbeck, Walcott, Ozil, Lacazette

Why Them?

Last week’s win was by the narrowest of margins, with Leicester leading twice during the match before Wenger reverted to the 4-2-3-1 formation. Monreal and Kolasinac did keep the foxes out for the last twenty or so minutes, but natural center-backs will be needed for tomorrow’s game.

As good as the team is offensively, they must defend better than last week, else that attacking prowess will be cancelled out. So, with both Mustafi and Mertesacker available, they are my choices for CB.

Also, the 3-4-3 simply wasn’t working versus Leicester, so I’ve opted for a back four from the get-go.

Bellerin remains Wenger’s only real option at RB, while Kolasinac has played really well since joining Arsenal, so he gets the nod instead of Monreal. Not to say that the Spaniard won’t be useful this season, just based on form the Bosnian should start right now.

Mohamed Elneny was great during the Community Shield; his passing was excellent, defending was superb and he partnered Xhaka perfectly. However, in the opener, the Egyptian just didn’t show up.

Yes, he got a good assist on Lacazette’s goal, but for the last 85 minutes or so he was plain average. Give Coquelin a chance.

With Alexis still out, Welbeck is the natural replacement on the left flank, although the Ox could easily deputize there. Personally, I think Danny’s performances merit another start, while Oxlade-Chamberlain or Walcott would be great impact subs for the game.

I defaulted to Walcott on the right but, again, the Ox could go there. Ozil is our best creative player, so he plays as an AM, while Lacazette hasn’t given anyone a reason to drop him.

For me, Giroud is best as a super-sub, so he will start on the bench.

Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images

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