Arsenal vs Stoke City – April 1 – Emirates Stadium
Arsenal will be hoping to collect 3 more points from the their Sunday’s Premier league clash with Stoke City. The Gunners are not likely to come out of the 6th spot to which they have been stuck at for months, as they are a clear 8 points behind 5th-placed Chelsea. But the only heartening thing going for Arsenal is the sublime form of German-international Mesut Ozil who although may not have found goals in his side’s emphatic wins against Watford and AC Milan, has provided more than 10 assists combinedly in those 2 games. Danny Welbeck’s return to form with his double strike against Milan is a welcome sight, too. Henrikh Mkhitaryan got his first goal for his new club in the clash against Watford. Pierre Aubameyang, who missed the Europa League game against Milan on a technicality should be back for the Stoke City clash. The Frenchman looked at his best in the 3-0 win against Watford getting a brace. It would be interesting to see what Arsene Wenger will do with the in-form Danny Welbeck with Aubameyang back in the starting XI.Welbeck played the lone striker in the game against Milan in a 4-2-3-1 with the trio of Ozil, Wilshire and Mkhitaryan behind him. Striker Alexandre Lacazette will be back, too, after his international break, but with his poor recent form one wonders where exactly he will fit in. Defensively, Arsenal have done better in their last 2 outings conceding just a solitary goal from them – this following a horror story of 3 defeats on the trot to Tottenham, Manchester City and most humiliatiangly to Brighton in which they conceded a total of six.
For Stoke City, getting out of the relegation territory will be a real challenge going ahead, given that they are in the 19th spot and still 3 points behind 17th placed West Ham’s 30. Post the tough Arsenal game on Sunday, the Potters are lined up against West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Swansea all of which they need to win if they are to avoid relegation by the end of the season. But for a side that has won just 6 of its last 31 games, it’s asking for too much.Coach Paul Lambert seems to be pinning his hopes on the return of two of his key players from injuries – Mame Diouf who has been out since March 3 and Xherdan Shaqiri who missed the Everton game on March 17 owing to a calf strain.The Potters will need both Diouf and Shaqiri upfront at the Emirates on April 1 if they are to pull off a miracle. Arsenal in contrast to their form in away games are quite invincible at home, thus making them the clear favourites to take 3 points from Sunday’s game.
Anytime Goalscorer: Aubameyang 4/5 @ Betfred
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