As we discussed yesterday, the first dilemma is how to replace the injured Jenkinson. Clearly it’s a toss up between Djourou and Koscielny. Koscielny is more experienced at filling in at right back, but just when we’ve tightened up at the back will Arsene Wenger want to disrupt his partnership with Mertesacker? I’m guessing not.
Then again, this game last season it was Squillaci who got the winner…….
Next decision – when to rest Robin Van Persie. The fact that Wenger had been musing over this one in public immediately makes me think that he is trying to mess with Tony Pullis’ head. Or maybe it’s the old double bluff. He’ll leave RVP out of the cup game against Bolton but he’ll definitely be needed against Chelsea next weekend.
I think he will start against Stoke. Another win will keep the run of brittle form going and consolidate our return to the top half of the table.
Arteta has been ever present since he arrived so maybe it’s time for a break. Arsene Wenger says there has to be some rotation, so how about Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield with Rambo to come on for another late winner?
I have to admit my team predictions haven’t been as good this season. Mainly because I’ve anticipated rotations that haven’t actually happened. But sooner or later Van Persie and Arteta will need a break.
We have a really solid record against Stoke, especially at home, but this isn’t a usual season and we will have to work hard for the win we need.
My guess for the team:
________ Szczesny ________
Djourou _ Merte _ Kos _ Santos
__________ Song _________
____Ox-Cham ___ Rosicky __
_ Walcott _ RVP _ Gervinho _