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Premier League

  • March 1, 2014
  • • 10:00
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 26711

Premier League Preview: Stoke City - Arsenal

Premier League Preview: Stoke City - Arsenal


Arsenal will be boosted by the return of Mesut Ozil, who missed last Saturday's 4-1 win against Sunderland.

Mesut Ozil is poised to return for Arsenal’s trip to Stoke City on Saturday.

The Germany international missed the club’s 4-1 win against Sunderland last Saturday following a sub-par display against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

But Arsene Wenger revealed the midfielder has been recovering from a dead leg and is in the squad that travels to the Britannia Stadium.

Although Wenger's men have won seven of the 11 Premier League meetings between the two clubs, only one of those triumphs has come at Stoke, which boasts home wins over Chelsea and Manchester United this season.

Arsenal heads into this weekend's game just one point behind leaders Chelsea and knows overcoming a difficult away day would enhance its chances of lifting a first Premier League title since 2004.

The north London club should head into the game in good spirits, having responded to a 2-0 Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich by thumping Sunderland 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium last weekend.

Wenger is now urging Arsenal to reach a consistent level in its remaining 11 league matches, believing the title race could go down to the wire.

"Overall, it will be very tight," Wenger said. "If you are consistent, you will have a good chance to win it."

Arsenal has been impressive on the road this season, collecting 26 points on its travels – a tally surpassed only by neighbors Tottenham.

Stoke, however, boasts a solid home record with 21 of its 27 league points coming at the Britannia.

Peter Crouch has four goals in his last six home outings, and the former Tottenham striker has proved a thorn in Arsenal's side in the past, scoring seven goals against the club in the Premier League.

Stoke is currently on a three-match winless run in the top flight and casting nervous glances at the relegation zone.

Hughes' men occupy 15th position but have a chance to put more distance between themselves and the bottom three with 18th-placed Sunderland playing in the Capital One Cup final this weekend.

Arsenal has doubts about the fitness of Nacho Monreal (foot) and Kieran Gibbs (hamstring), meaning Thomas Vermaelen could be asked to fill in at left back following his recovery from a knee injury.

Aaron Ramsey, who suffered a horrific broken leg at Stoke four years ago, is set to miss out again with a thigh problem.

Stoke is without winger Oussama Assaidi (knee), but central defender Robert Huth could be named among the substitutes after being absent for three months because of a knee issue.

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