Arsenal V Stoke at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview

By Matt T
09 December 2016
Arsenal V Stoke - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Arsenal prepare to face Stoke before learning next Champions League rivals

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will turn his focus to Stoke before waiting for the Gunners' fate in Monday's Champions League draw.

And the French boss has backed his side to beat holders Real Madrid if they get paired with the Spanish outfit in the last 16.

The Gunners advanced to the knock-out stages as group winners for the first time since 2012 after beating Basle 4-1 in Switzerland on Tuesday.

They could still land a tricky tie - with Madrid among the possible opponents - as they look to get into the quarter-finals for the first time in six years.

Wenger said: "Yes, you can take Real Madrid as maybe a favourite to win, because they are the holders of the competition.

"But even against Real Madrid we'll have a chance to qualify and we'll have to do the absolute maximum to achieve that.

"It's another inconvenient fact for us that we haven't qualified for the quarter-final for six years. That will be a huge challenge for my group but I'm sure we will relish that."

Arsenal face Stoke at home in the Premier League on Saturday and could have Hector Bellerin back on duty.

The right-back has been missing with an ankle injury but is back in training and may come straight into the side to replace Gabriel.

Petr Cech will return in goal after David Ospina deputised in the win over Basle, while Santi Cazorla (Achilles), Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are all definite absentees.

Bruno Martins Indi and Marko Arnautovic will be fit for Stoke.

Defender Martins Indi was sent for precautionary X-rays after he was elbowed in the face by Burnley striker Ashley Barnes last weekend but he has been passed fit along with midfielder Arnautovic, who was also nursing a knock following the 2-0 home win against the Clarets.

Centre-back Ryan Shawcross remains a major doubt with his calf complaint and Geoff Cameron (knee) is still a couple of weeks away from getting back to fitness.

Stoke are speaking to Derby about a permanent deal for on-loan goalkeeper Lee Grant, Potters boss Mark Hughes has confirmed.

Grant has excelled since moving to the bet365 Stadium at the end of the summer transfer window, going from third in line at Derby in the Championship to first choice in the Premier League.

Hughes said: "We would like him to stay. He's done exceptionally well, we are delighted he's been able to do that.

"It's not easy when you come into a new club. It was a shot to nothing for him. He thought it was a good opportunity and he's grabbed it with both hands - literally."


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