Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League qualification took a shot in the arm in the week when a resilient performance at Southampton saw them leave 2-0 winners and with all three points.
The victory at St. Mary’s, their first in the League since December 2003 when Robert Pires scored the only goal in a 1-0 win, took Arsene Wenger’s side above rivals Manchester United into fifth place and just three points off Manchester City in fourth.
Having won five of their last six in all competitions the Gunners are hitting form at just the right time and, whilst their fate is no longer in their own hands, another win when they travel to Stoke City this weekend would further turn the heat up on those above, especially Liverpool who don’t play until Sunday and have already played a game more than the north Londoners.
With that in mind, Wenger may be tempted to recall Arsenal stalwart Laurent Koscielny, who missed the Southampton game through injury.
Speaking ahead of their trip to the Bet365 Stadium, Wenger told Shoot that the French defender has a chance to feature against Mark Hughes’ side.
“[Koscielny has] got a small chance,” said Wenger.
“He was not far [for Southampton] he practised yesterday (Tuesday) but it was risky to play him.”
While it would be a boost the the travelling Gunners to see Koscielny return to the fold, strong showings from both Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal in a back three on Wednesday night will give Wenger peace of mind should he leave the 31-year-old out.