Stoke City vs Arsenal: Combined XI

Unbeaten against the Potters in their last five, the Gooners head to the Bet365 Stadium boosted by a thrilling 4-3 win against Leicester on the opening day. We take a look at who would make our XI after the first game of the season.

Stoke City vs Arsenal: Combined XI
2017 Premier league Stoke v Arsenal May 13th by Conor Molloy Photo via Getty Images

Stoke City take on Arsenal in their first home match of the 2017/18 season and will be looking to get back on track following their defeat to Everton on the opening weekend. 

The two sides are littered with some of the best players in the Premier League especially given the signings during this summer transfer window. 

VAVEL attempts to create a combined XI from the two squads.

Goalkeeper – Jack Butland

England international Jack Butland pips the established Petr Cech for the goalkeeping spot in this team with the former looking all at sea in recent games. Cech has not quite shown the form he showcased during his time at London rivals Chelsea since his move from Stamford Bridge. The Czech was arguably at fault for one or two of Leicester City's goals at the Emirates Stadium last week, which exposed his weaknesses as a shot stopper.

Butland, who has grown tremendously as a 'keeper over the years, produced a string of excellent saves against Everton last week to keep the score at 1-0. He has come back from a lengthy injury really well and looked on top form towards the back end of last season. The Stoke player takes this due to recent form and his exciting promise.

Defender – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Rumoured to be moving away from the club hasn't stopped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain becoming a consistent performer in the Arsenal side. His move to wing-back last year has seemingly revitalised the England man after years of playing on the wing. His pace, power and overall ability makes him a feared player out wide and will be one to watch if he starts at the bet365 Stadium.

Although not a conventional full-back, he makes this side and has little competition on the Stoke front despite Josh Tymon's arrival from Hull City this summer.

Defender – Kurt Zouma

Kurt Zouma has shown promise since his early days at Saint-Etienne. He continued his rise when he moved to Chelsea but has found first-team opportunities hard to come by under Antonio Conte. After arriving on loan from the Blues this summer, Zouma should be a huge asset for Stoke this season and showcased this with a decent performance at Goodison Park.

Centre-back has always been an issue for Arsenal over the years and, barring Laurent Koscielny and perhaps Mustafi, Arsene Wenger's side do not harbour a central defender of such promise.

Defender – Laurent Koscielny

He might be banned for the trip to Staffordshire but Laurent Koscielny is a huge part of Arsenal's starting XI. The Frenchman had a rough start after moving from Lorient but has evolved into one of the best centre-backs in the division. His presence at the back for Arsenal has been instrumental for the London club in recent years and has won three FA Cups during his time in England. Unquestionably makes the side over the likes of Mustafi, Shawcross and Holding.

Defender – Sead Kolašinac

A great start to his Arsenal career most notably coming off the bench in the Community Shield against Chelsea to score the equaliser. Kolašinac made the Bunesliga's Team of the Season recently and joined the Gunners on a free transfer this summer. Already a fan favourite due to his strength and desire, not to mention a goal against Chelsea, many are expecting the full-back to make a name for himself at the Emirates.

Midfield – Darren Fletcher

The veteran displayed a vast array of passing quality, spraying passes from the middle of the park against Everton on debut for Stoke City. Signed from West Brom, the midfielder is still capable of the match winning displays that he showed often at Manchester United. His experience and quality will be vital for Mark Hughes' side this year.

Midfield – Granit Xhaka

Despite his moments of madness, Granit Xhaka has shown enough to suggest his time at Arsenal will only get better. The Swiss international possess the passing range that many top midfielders crave and has the ability to score from range as well, showcased against Forest and Hull last term. The former Basel man grabbed two assists against Leicester City last Friday and looks good in Arsenal's new system. With Aaron Ramsey to come in alongside him, Xhaka could be a force this season.

Midfield – Aaron Ramsey

A workhorse. Aaron Ramsey came off the bench and was instrumental in the comeback against Leicester, dragging the Leicester defence all over the place leading to his excellent goal. Ramsey often gets a bad reception at Stoke but this won't impact his performance if he starts in midfield. Another to have benefitted from the change in system, Ramsey will hope to replicate the performances seen in the 2013/14 campaign. 

Midfield - Xherdan Shaqiri

One of the only Stoke players with the ability to make something out of nothing, Shaqiri's talent in unquestionable. His long-range effort last week was the closest his side came to scoring against Everton last week but saw his strike saved by Jordan Pickford. He will be one to watch on Saturday evening and could prove to be the match-winner if Arsenal aren't at their sharpest.

Striker – Alexandre Lacazette

It took Arsenal’s new talisman under two minutes to make his mark on his full Premier League debut. His eye for goal made him one of Europe's most wanted men during his time at Lyon and the big money spent on the Frenchman shows just how good he is. His header showed his instincts and his performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield showed he wasn't scared to come back towards midfield to start attacks.

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Striker – Olivier Giroud

Saved the day for Arsenal as his dramatic late header snatched all three points for Arsenal. Often an underrated figure at the Emirates, Olivier Giroud has now scored 99 goals in Arsenal colours. Many would kill to have Giroud in their team and Stoke would be no different. The Potters still lack an out-and-out goalscorer and that's why Giroud makes this team.