Arsenal confirmed line v Stoke: Four changes as attacker axed

By Russell Edge

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has named four changes to his side for their clash with Stoke at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Laurent Koscielny, Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud come into the starting XI replacing Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck.

Their official line-up was named on Arsenals’ Twitter account:

Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain were both injury doubts before the game, with Wenger providing an update on the club’s official website.

The French defender starts for the Gunners alongside Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi in defence, but Oxlade-Chamberlain is left out of the squad.

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Coquelin joins Granit Xhaka in the centre of the park, while Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin will patrol the flanks.

Olivier Giroud starts ahead of Danny Welbeck up front after scoring in Wednesday’s win over Southampton.

Arsenal overcame Mark Hughes’ side in the reverse fixture back in December despite falling behind to a first half Charlie Adam penalty.

Goals from Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi helped secure a 3-1 victory, before Wenger’s side suffered defeats to Everton and Manchester City.

The Gunners come into the game on the back of two successive 2-0 victories over Manchester United and Southampton, and have suffered just one defeat in their last five Premier League games.

Alexis Sanchez and Giroud scored the crucial goals in Wednesday’s win over the Saints, which kept them in with a fighting chance of a top four finish this season.

In other Arsenal news, Mark Lawrenson has given his prediction for the Gunners’ clash with Stoke.

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