Petr Cech

Why Petr Cech & Laurent Koscielny were missing from Arsenal’s XI vs Stoke

Arsenal vs Stoke

When the team sheets came out for Sunday’s Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke, there were a couple of shocks in the Gunners XI.

Due to postponements and the international break, Arsenal’s last Premier League match was on 11 March – a 3-0 home win over Watford.

The disruptions came at a bad time for Gunners, who are on a three-match winning streak which includes a 5-1 aggregate win over AC Milan.

With a top four finish seemingly beyond them, the focus for the Gunners is their Europa League campaign.

Arsenal’s XI vs Stoke

The team sheets were as follows.

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Welbeck, Aubameyang

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Subs: Macey, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette

Stoke: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Badou, Allen; Ramadan, Shaqiri, Diouf.

Subs: Haugaard; Ireland, Berahino, Cameron, Crouch, Campbell, Sorensen.

Where were Petr Cech & Laurent Koscielny?

The two biggest absentees from the Arsenal starting XI were Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny.

Cech, who recently recorded his 200th Premier League clean sheet, wasn’t even able to take his place on the bench.

That’s because the goalie was out with a fresh groin injury.

For the record, Cech’s injury handed David More Ospina a first Premier League start in 364 days. His last Premier League start was in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City. The goalie only has 20 minutes in top flight this season.

As for Koscielny, the French centre-half was left on the bench against Stoke.

Rob Holding was given a starting berth against the Potters instead.

Koscielny, who recently featured for France during the international break, was left out the XI for tactical reasons.

It’s believed Koscielny was rested ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with CSKA Moscow.

And what about Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Granit Xhaka? Those midfielder were also left on the Arsenal bench, seemingly with the UEL match in mind.

Also see: Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka has an Under Armour problem.

Rumour: Arsenal’s major Adidas deal.