- Aaron Ramsey
The toast of the team last year, and now the one under the most severe scrutiny. It’s been quite a weird turnaround of events for the young Welshman especially considering he did start this season on a bright note, scoring in the first two League games. The drought that has now seen him go 4 months without a goal is understandably a concern to him but there are have been enough shades of grey in other parts of his game to suggest that his recent under-par outputs do not entirely come down to a dearth in returns in front of goal. But Ramsey has shown before how determined he could be when the job to be done is to win back the faith of the fans and there is no doubt that he will be looking to that late assist against Southampton as a positive to build on going to Stoke. Of course, he will shake Ryan Shawcross and surely won’t shudder from proving he has grown immune to being smashed.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The Ox was arguably the least performing player on Wednesday and was rightly substituted when the need to bring on Giroud became inevitable. It could be that he doesn’t get to start against Stoke and as disappointing as it might be, the team must always come first and he should understand that. He has been one of the team’s best players going forward with his blistering pace always a danger for the opposition but a lack of regular end product hasn’t given much weight to his efforts so far. A cameo from the bench could suit him, especially if it happens that we struggle to stretch them enough after an hour.
- Danny Welbeck
If Fraser Forster made himself a nemesis to Welbeck, expect Asmir Begovic to be even more monstrous. But you want your striker to find a way to put it passed the best shot stoppers, don’t you? Three League goals in 11 games is not good enough for a striker who is battling to be retained as first choice for his country, Welbz simply has to score a lot more. The one certain thing is that he always will get the chances, and a better understanding with Giroud would even make the opportunities come closer to goal. We are yet to lose in a game in which he has scored and Stoke presents another stage to keep that mark intact.
- Damian Martinez
“I’ll keep a clean sheet against Stoke”. It doesn’t get more confident than that, and if you’ve kept three on the trot, who’s to say you couldn’t make it four? It will feel strangely new when Szczesny returns as Number 1 next week but if Martinez could command his area as well as he’s done in the last 8 days, you couldn’t bet against the event of an uprising when it becomes time to rest him.
- Olivier Giroud
Man of the match versus Southampton with his physical influence as a substitute, but it’s likely he’ll return to leading the line against Stoke. Money on him to score the winner.
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