This is one fixture Arsenal dread the most. From the hostility of the Stoke City fans towards Arsene Wenger to several disappointing results, it will be tough for the Gunners to play them so early in the new season.
Arsenal will be without the services of contract rebel Alexis Sanchez as he continues to nurse an abdominal injury.
The Gunners will also miss defender, Laurent Koscielny as he serves the last of his three match suspension. The squad will, however, welcome back the likes of Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi, and Francis Coquelin who missed the thrilling 4-3 win over Leicester City.
Stoke City will be without Julien Ngoy, Ibrahim Affellay and Stephen Ireland, all due to injuries. They will however have new signing Jese Rodriguez available.
Arsenal have only won one of their last 7 away games against Stoke City. They have actually lost three, drawn three and the win came earlier this year, in May, during the closing part of last season when they were fighting for a top four finish.
On the positive side, the North London club are unbeaten in their last 5 fixtures against the Potters and will look to complete the double this season for the first time since the 2009 – 2010 season.
On an individual level, Alexandre Lacazzette will aim at becoming the first Arsenal player to score in his first two Premier League appearances after netting on his debut at the Emirates Stadium against Leicester.
Long serving striker, Olivier Giroud will also hope to score his 100th goal for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger also will aim to continue his dominance over his Stoke City rival, Mark Hugh, having defeated him on 13 occasions in Premier League matches.
The match will really be a test of the Gunners readiness for the uphill task of challenging for the title after a disastrous campaign last season.
The win against Leicester with all its thrills cannot be termed convincing. With an improved back line, it remains to be seen whether the North London club can keep a solid defense. With an opening day disappointment at Everton, Stoke will fight to get a result.
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