Arsenal v Stoke City preview: Alexandre Lacazette in contention
Last Updated: 01/04/18 12:25pm
Alexandre Lacazette could make his return from injury when Arsenal host Stoke on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
The France international underwent knee surgery following the 1-0 defeat to Tottenham on February 10.
But his return to fitness is timely given fellow striker and club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is cup-tied in the Europa League, where Arsenal face CSKA Moscow in the quarter-finals.
Jack Wilshere could also be involved despite missing both England internationals due to a minor knee complaint.
The 26-year-old returned to Arsenal for treatment and assistant manager Steve Bould insists there is no issue between club and country over the latest injury scare for Wilshere.
"Jack trained yesterday so he's OK," he said on Thursday. "I don't know where the issues or the reports are coming from to be honest with you. Jack had a bit of a knee problem I think, but he's come back and he's fine. As far as I'm aware, there's no issue."
The Potters sit 19th in the table, three points from safety, having not won in their last seven games. However, they did secure a 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the reverse fixture back in August.
Arsenal should have Wilshere and Sead Kolasinac fit and available. Lacazette (knee) is also ready to return having been sidelined since February 10 while Santi Cazorla (Achilles) is a long-term absentee.
Stoke could welcome back forward Mame Biram Diouf after missing the last two matches with a shoulder problem.
Defender Erik Pieters is also expected to return after he was fined and left out of the squad for the defeat to Everton two weeks ago after breaking a curfew.
Midfielder Charlie Adam begins a three-match ban following his red card against the Toffees while forward Eric Choupo-Moting is expected to be sidelined for several weeks by a groin problem and Ibrahim Afellay has been banished from the squad by manager Paul Lambert.
Stoke, 1-0 winners at the Bet365 Stadium earlier this season, haven't completed a league double over Arsenal since the 1975-76 season.
Arsenal's current run of 12 consecutive home top-flight wins against Stoke is their longest winning run in their top-flight history.
72.9% of Arsenal's Premier League points this season have been won in home games, the highest ratio in the division (35/48).
Jese made his Premier League debut in the reverse fixture, scoring the only goal in a game in which he had two shots on target. Since then, he's played 545 minutes in 12 Premier League games, has had just two more shots on target, hasn't scored and hasn't been on the winning side (D4 L8).
PL Prediction Show podcast
Listen to the Premier League Prediction Show podcast with Max Rushden and Paul Merson
In just 406 minutes on the pitch together in the Premier League this season, Arsenal pair Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have combined for three goals - no duo has linked up for more at the club this season.
It'll be comfortable. It's Arsenal all over, they're in a bit of trouble then they win three or four games on the trot and everything is rosy again in the garden. They had the two games against AC Milan then they won their league game and they've had a break now but for me, the big game is CSKA Moscow home and away.
But Arsenal put these teams to bed, they're renowned for it so it's a home win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)