Venue: Emirates Stadium Date: Saturday, 2nd February K/o: 15:00
Arsenal could hand a debut to Spanish left-back Nacho Monreal after he completed his transfer deadline day move from Malaga. Fellow left-back Kieran Gibbs is still out with a thigh injury, while Thomas Vermaelen is a doubt with an ankle complaint. Midfielder Mikel Arteta could return from the calf injury that has ruled him out of his side's last four Premier League games, but forward Yao Gervinho is still contesting the African Cup of Nations. Stoke's new signing Brek Shea will not feature despite being granted a work permit after joining on transfer deadline day - a pre-existing foot injury rules him out of contention. Fellow new recruit Jack Butland has been loaned straight back to Birmingham City for the remainder of the season. Stoke have no fresh injury concerns, though defender Marc Wilson is still out with an ankle injury.
Neither of these sides come into this game in fine form. The Gunners won just one league game throughout the course of January and also sustained damaging defeats to City and Chelsea, leaving manager Arsene Wenger sweating over a top-four spot this season. Stoke, while sitting reasonably comfortably mid-table, also have just one Premier League win to their names from January and have lost their last three. This game will provide us with the opportunity to check out new Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal from Malaga, but Tony Pulis will have to wait a little while longer before unleashing any of his new signings. Jack Butland has been tipped to become Europe's best goalkeeper in the future, but he won't arrive at the Britannia until the summer.
Joseph is an accredited football journalist and has interviewed nearly all of the current 20 Barclay's Premier League managers. He is also a correspondent for Bleacher Report and has written for Caught Offside and Give Me Football.