Arsene Wenger could be in for a hostile reception when Arsenal resume their Premier League season with a visit from old enemy Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners boss has been the subject of criticism from his own fans after failing to buy a single outfield player during the summer transfer window – goalkeeper Petr Cech was his only signing.
A centre-back, a defensive midfielder and, in particular, a top-class striker were on the agenda for Arsenal fans, but they were once again frustrated by their manager’s reluctance to spend.
Not adding a new number nine will be the biggest source of disappointment after strong links to Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, but Wenger remain unmoved on deadline day.
This anger was exasperated earlier this week when the Gunners revealed that Danny Welbeck is expected to be out until Christmas following surgery on a long-term knee problem.
Arsenal boss denies LYING about INJURED star
Arsene Wenger HITS BACK at Arsenal critics and EXPLAINS transfer policy
Jack Wilshere injury update: Arsenal midfielder handed BIG BOOST following leg injury
There is now huge pressure on Olivier Giroud to deliver the goals to fire Arsenal into title contention. The Frenchman has failed to hit the 20-goal mark in any of his three seasons at the club.
And the 28-year-old’s confidence may be at an all-time low after he was booed off when he was substituted, ironically for Benzema, during France’s 2-1 win over Serbia on Monday.
Still Wenger is likely to opt for Giroud over Theo Walcott as his lone forward at the Emirates Stadium, in one of three changes made to the side which beat Newcastle United 1-0 a fortnight ago.
Match-winner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny, who aggravated a back injury while with France, are likely to drop out for fit-again Germans Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker.
Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista represents a fourth centre-back pairing in as many games. The last two have kept clean sheets to help Arsenal onto seven points from four matches this term.
Opponents Stoke are yet to win a game and only have two points to their name despite some exciting summer recruitment, but always tend to raise their game against the Gunners.
A rivalry born out of contradicting playing styles, and enhanced by a serious injury to Aaron Ramsey at the hands of Ryan Shawcross, has often brought the best out of the Potters.
Although Stoke’s success against Arsenal has come exclusively at the Britannia Stadium – where they are unbeaten in five meetings. They have lost on every Premier League visit to the Emirates.
Shawcross remains injured alongside Peter Odemwingie, while Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam are both suspended following their red cards in the 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
Jonathan Walters, who was denied a deadline-day move, Marko Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland are all in contention for recalls. Mark Hughes could even decide to risk Bojan, who has recovered from knee ligament damage, for a first start since January as Stoke aim to build the pressure on Wenger.
Mesut Ozil new girlfriend: 8 red hot photos of Arsenal WAG Amine Gulse
Fastest players on FIFA 16: Arsenal star UNBEATABLE… Chelsea, Man U & Liverpool men also 90+
2015 NFL season preview: Green Bay Packers tipped to win thrilling Super Bowl 50 against Indianapolis Colts