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Premier League

  • 23 October 2011
  • • 13:30
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 59671
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Arsenal - Stoke City Preview: Tony Pulis' men looking to improve on poor record at the Emirates

Arsenal - Stoke City Preview: Tony Pulis' men looking to improve on poor record at the Emirates

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The Potters are hoping to add to their encouraging start to the season but will come up against a Gunners outfit aiming for their sixth win in seven games


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ARSENAL

Szczesny
Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Santos
Song, Arteta, Ramsey
Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho

STOKE CITY

 
Begovic
Huth, Woodgate, Shawcross, Higgingbotham
Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Etherington
Crouch, Jones


Injuries picked up by full-backs Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs are almost certain to push Arsene Wenger into playing Andre Santos and Carl Jenkinson, who have been rotated with the two missing defenders often this season. Long-term absentees are the Frenchman's only real concern at the moment, with no new niggling injuries picked up against Marseille during the week.

A thigh strain to Andy Wilkinson will probably keep him out of the clash at the Emirates, but Tony Pulis has enough strength at the back to cope with the absence. Wilson Palacios is also due a return from injury, but it is doubtful he will be risked this weekend unless he comes off of the bench late on. Danny Higgingbotham could make his first start since April.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Arsenal’s total of 12 goals this season is twice the amount of opponents Stoke.
  • Stoke have only conceded eight goals so far this season, less than half of the amount let in by Arsenal. Only Manchester United, Manchester City and Newcastle have let in less.
  • Stoke have only managed one goal in their last three visits to the Emirates, and that was a Ricardo Fuller penalty.
  • Van Persie has scored 23 times in the 25 games he has played in during 2011.
  • Stoke have never drawn a Premier League game on their travels to London, winning three times and losing 12 games.
  • Stoke have the highest percentage of goals from set pieces in the league with 67 per cent, yet Arsenal have a lowly 8 per cent.
  • Arsenal have never failed to score against Stoke in the Premier League since the Potters were promoted in 2008.
  • Arsenal have won five out of their last six games in all competitions.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
5Johan DjourouDefender
4Per MertesackerDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
27Andre SantosDefender
25Alex SongMidfielder
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
14Theo WalcottStriker
27GervinhoStriker
29Marouane ChamakhStriker
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
35Emmanuel FrimpongMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
10Chu-Young ParkStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
20Matthew UpsonDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
24Rory DelapMidfielder
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
25Peter CrouchStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
30Ryan ShottonDefender
15Salif DiaoDefender
8W. PalaciosMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
10Cameron JeromeStriker
Players to Watch
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
2 0 0 0
The Dutch striker has been the leading force in the revival of an Arsenal side which looked to be on a downward slope in the opening stages of the league, scoring five goals so far this season in vital matches. The Gunners will be looking to their Dutchman to find the back of the net once again when he faces Stoke.
Asmir Begovic
Asmir Begovic
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0

The Potters’ keeper has shown his class between the sticks over recent seasons and so far in this campaign he has not disappointed, claiming four clean sheets in the opening eight games.

He looks to be relishing the quality defence Pulis has erected in front of him, with the likes of Shawcross, Woodgate, Huth and Upson all helping the Bosnian to maintain his top-class record.

Prediction

I think a whole hearted performance from Pulis’ men will be undone late in the game, by a single strike from a player like Van Persie. Wenger’s side have found a somewhat uncharacteristic resilience since their defeat at the hands of Blackburn and I think they will carry this through into Sunday's clash.

Although Stoke have managed to hold Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea this season, all three games were played at the fortress which is the Britannia Stadium, linked with the fact they are still yet to record a win on the road this season, the Emirates could be a difficult trip for the Potters.

Editor's Prediction

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