Stoke City v Arsenal

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Alexis Sanchez was among the goalscorers in the 4-1 win at Stoke last season.


Stoke could give a debut to forward Jese Rodriguez, signed on loan from Paris St Germain this week.

Belgian forward Julien Ngoy is set for six weeks out with a thigh issue, while Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland remain long-term absentees.

Arsenal welcome back defenders Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi and midfielder Francis Coquelin.

Alexis Sanchez is still missing with a muscle strain and Laurent Koscielny serves the last game of his suspension.


Steve Bower: “After the late drama of their opening weekend victory, Arsenal face a different challenge in their first game on the road – one, apart from last season, they’ve hardly relished in recent times.

“Amongst the dramatic headlines of their four goals against Leicester, it took just 90 minutes for the familiar defensive questions to be posed.

“Whether Stoke can probe them further remains to be seen. Twelve months ago they accumulated just three points from their first seven matches and are desperate to make a more positive start to this campaign.

“They will hope this week’s arrival of Jese Rodriguez will be the attacking boost they require and add to their memories of this particular fixture.”

Twitter: @SteveBowercomm


Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: “We didn’t cover ourselves in glory the last time we came out against them [Arsenal], so we need a marked improvement on that and I sense that from the group.

“We are hoping to involve all the signings we have brought in over the summer on Saturday. Some will start and others will be on the bench.

“We view the players we have brought in as regular starters. If we compare where we were at the end of last season I think we are stronger.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “I don’t believe in bogey teams too much. We had a good performance here last season and we have to focus on that, just to deal with the same performance.

“Stoke have a good record at home against many teams and I’m convinced that if we play our game, we have a good chance of winning.”


Arsenal only just got through their topsy-turvy game against Leicester and are not always great away from home.

They have also struggled at Stoke in the past – but they won 4-1 there in May and I think the Gunners will come out on top again this time too.

Prediction: 0-2

Lawro’s full predictions v Detroit actor Will Poulter.

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.



  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last five Premier League meetings with Stoke (W4, D1), conceding just two goals in the process.
  • Stoke’s 4-1 defeat against Arsenal in May last season ended their six-match unbeaten home run in this fixture (W3, D3).
  • The Gunners could win successive top-flight games at Stoke for the first time since 1969.

Stoke City

  • Stoke could lose their opening two Premier League games for the first time since 2010.
  • The Potters were winless in their first seven league games last season, and their first six in 2015-16.
  • They failed to beat any of the top-six sides last season, earning just three points out of a possible 36.
  • Peter Crouch has scored nine Premier League goals against Arsenal, more than against any other club.
  • Saido Berahino has gone 27 Premier League appearances without a goal since he scored for West Brom in a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace in February 2016.


  • Arsenal could win their opening two games of a Premier League season for the first time in eight years.
  • The Gunners could win seven consecutive league fixtures for the first time since an eight-match streak from February to April 2015.
  • They are unbeaten in their opening away fixture in each of the last eight seasons (W3, D5).
  • Alexandre Lacazette is vying to become the first player to score in his first two Premier League appearances for Arsenal.
  • Granit Xhaka’s two assists against Leicester City on the opening day equalled his tally in 32 games last season.
SAM’s verdict
Most probable score: 0-1 Probability of draw: 24%
Probability of home win: 20% Probability of away win: 56%

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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