Arsenal are hoping to welcome back first-choice centre halves Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker as they host Stoke City at the Emirates on Saturday.
The French international sat out his country’s friendly with Serbia in midweek but has recovered from a back injury, whilst his German team-mate has returned to training following an illness.
Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky are all missing for the Gunners, who need to find their scoring boots at the Emirates having gone goalless in their first two home matches of the season against West Ham and Liverpool. They have only scored three times in the first four matches overall, and striker Olivier Giroud was booed off by French fans during the international break.
Despite their problems in front of goal, Arsenal sit sixth in the Premier League with seven points, and if they win this weekend it will continue their positive reaction to their opening day defeat against West Ham.
Stoke came into the season with big expectations after some impressive signings, but the Potters remain winless after four games and sit in the bottom three with only Newcastle and Sunderland below them.
Home defeats against Liverpool and West Brom combined with away draws at Norwich and Tottenham have left Mark Hughes’ side with just two points from their first four games.
The fightback from 2-0 to draw at White Hart Lane in mid-August means Stoke have already produced one impressive performance in North London this season, and they will hope to go one better at the Emirates this weekend and win their first league game at Arsenal since 1981.
A fortnight ago, Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Affelay were both sent off against West Brom; both miss this match through suspension as a result. Hughes also has injury concerns to deal with, as Peter Odemwingie is out whilst Glen Johnson, Mame Diouf and Marko Arnautovic are all doubtful. Jon Walters – who remained at the Britannia despite heavy speculation linking him with a move away – returns to the squad.
League Position: Arsenal – 6th, 7pts; Stoke – 18th, 2pts
Last Meeting: Arsenal 3-0 Stoke – January 11, 2015
Form: Arsenal – LWDW; Stoke – LDDL
Key Men: Arsenal – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Stoke – Xherdan Shaqiri
Shoot Says: Arsenal 2-1 Stoke