Midfielder Aaron Ramsey looks to banish demons of Britannia Stadium horror injury, as Van Persie aims for 8th away goal in a row and Potters look for third consecutive clean sheet
|Stoke City (4-4-2): Begovic; Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson; Pennant, Whithead, Wilson, Delap; Jones, Walters.|
Expect Tony Pulis to name the side that drew a blank away at Blackpool last weekend, with Andy Wilkinson having recovered from a dead leg.
The game will no doubt be used as a stage by the Stoke players to ensure their place in the FA Cup final team next weekend, while Ryan Shawcross’s first encounter against Aaron Ramsey since that infamous tackle will doubtless also provide a sideshow to the fixture.
|Arsenal (4-3-3): Szczesny; Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielney, Clichy; Ramsey, Song, Wilshere; Walcott, Van Persie, Arshavin.|
With Cesc Fabregas still sidelined with a thigh strain, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere will look to control the central midfield, while Andrey Arshavin looks set to replace the injured Samir Nasri who misses out with a hamstring injury.
Thomas Vermaelen could make his first appearance since August, standing in for Johan Djourou who is doubtful due to an ankle injury.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal has won four games on the bounce against Stoke City, with Sebastien Squillaci’s only league goal for the north London club sealing a 1-0 victory at the Emirates in February.
- Stoke however has not lost in any of the games in which its has taken the lead this season, winning nine and drawing four.
- The Potters have only lost one of their last six games, having drawn three and lost two.
- Arsenal has given away nine penalties so far this campaign, the highest conceded in the Premier League.
- The Gunners' fragility has been highlighted once again this season, yet their defensive record tells a somewhat different story, and with 30 points from 17 games, they have the best away record in the division.
- Stoke boasted a four game winning streak against Sunday’s opponents, until it was defeated 3-1 in last season’s meeting at the Britannia Stadium.
- Robin van Persie (pictured above right) has found the net in each of the last seven away games, and also has an impressive record of 18 goals from 20 games in 2011.
- If the Stoke backline can keep Van Persie and company at bay, it will be the third clean sheet in a row – the first time for 13 months this has happened.