Arsenal vs Stoke Aubameyang and Lacazette start, but Wilshere misses out

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Arsene Wenger may be feeling a bit under the weather, but his mood will have no doubt perked up as his players began to return to London Colney from their stints across the world with their national teams.

The international break is always a nervous time for a manager, who can do nothing but sit with his fingers crossed hoping his squad members return unscathed.

And when Wenger heard that Jack Wilshere had suffered an injury while away with England, he would have feared the worst about his midfielder.

But the signs are good with Wilshere, as they are with most of the Arsenal squad ahead of Sunday’s game against Stoke at the Emirates.

In fact, it could be that only long-term absentee Santi Cazorla is the only player Wenger is unable to select for this weekend’s Premier League clash.

Wilshere trained on Tuesday, as did Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette, who has not featured for six weeks due to a knee operation which followed immediately after the defeat against Spurs at Wembley in early February.

Mesut Ozil is also expected to be available, despite returning early from international duty with Germany. There were concerns over Sead Kolasinac, who was substituted during Bosnia’s game with Senegal on Tuesday night, but the left-back should also be available to face Stoke.

So with so many options to choose from, Wenger has some tough decisions to make, especially with the Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow on the horizon.

There is a thought that the Arsenal boss should rest players with that game in mind, but I don’t think that’s necessary given the first-leg does not take place until Thursday night.

I would, however, like to see Lacazette start so that he can get at least 60 minutes under his belt ahead of the game against Moscow, in which he is expected to lead the Arsenal attack due to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s absence.

So I would pair to the two strikers together on Sunday, with Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on either side.

That might leave Arsenal a bit exposed defensively, but Stoke are not going to come to the Emirates and play open, expansive football. They will sit deep and hope to get something from a set play.





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