Stoke v Arsenal preview: Mohamed Elneny could make debut
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 17/01/16 4:12pm
Arsene Wenger is yet to decide whether to hand Mohamed Elneny his Arsenal debut in Sunday's game at Stoke.
The Egypt midfielder joined the Gunners on Thursday but may not feature at the Britannia Stadium as he adapts to the English game.
The Gunners, who could have fallen from first to third in the Premier League by the time they take to the pitch at the Britannia Stadium, will be hoping to recover from dropping two points late on in their thrilling 3-3 draw at Liverpool in midweek.
Mark Hughes' Stoke side, meanwhile, will be aiming for a third win in seven days and could close to within a point of the top four if results go their way this weekend.
Xherdan Shaqiri (hamstring) and Geoff Cameron (ankle) are out for the Potters, but Stephen Ireland and Phil Bardsley are available again.
Marko Arnautovic was withdrawn as a precaution against Norwich after tightness in his hip, but the attacker has been passed fit.
Wenger has a decision to make over Alexis Sanchez, admitting he would be taking a risk by playing the Chile forward who is fit after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Jack Wilshere (leg), Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck, and Santi Cazorla (all knee) are definitely all ruled out.
Stoke have lost just one of their seven league games at the Britannia Stadium against Arsenal (W4 D2 L1).
Peter Crouch has scored eight goals against the Gunners, the joint-most against any opponent in his Premier League career along with Blackburn Rovers.
Hughes is unbeaten on home soil as an opposition coach against Arsene Wenger in his last seven league matches (W5 D2), spread across five different clubs. Overall at home his record in the league versus Wenger is (W6 D2 L2).
Stoke scored with three of their four shots on target against Arsenal in this fixture last season and all of them came in the first half.
Olivier Giroud has the best minutes per goal ratio of any top-flight player this season to score more than five times, netting every 117 minutes on average.
Jonathan Walters has scored in three of his last four appearances for Stoke in all competitions; this after going nine games in a row without scoring for the Potters.
Paul Merson's prediction
This is a massive test for Arsenal. The Britannia is a tough place to go at the best of times but for Arsenal it's not a happy hunting ground. I looked at Arsenal's three games against Liverpool, Stoke and Chelsea and thought if Arsene Wenger can pick up seven points it would be a good return.
But after Wednesday's result, everything is so tight again at the top and the last thing Arsenal need is for City to get ahead of them. With a trip to Stoke and the visit of Chelsea coming up that is a real possibility now.
I was disappointed with them the other night. They got it all wrong and I think they will be held again by a good Stoke team. I always say it but Hughes' side are always good at home and I can see them getting a 1-1 draw. He's been in excellent form in recent weeks so Marko Arnautovic is getting my vote to open the scoring.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1
Arsenal are Sky Bet's 19/20 favourites with Stoke 3/1 and the draw 13/5. The Potters have a good record at home to the Gunners having not lost in the last five matches at the Britannia. Stoke are 8/11 to win or draw in the Double Chance market. Both Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey have scored in the last two matches, the pair both to score on Sunday is available at 15/2. Check out tips from our Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp, Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier here.