Match Preview: Arsenal vs Stoke City | Gooner Talk


Match Preview: Arsenal vs Stoke City

Written by Jonathan Harding

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Having survived the dreaded month of November relatively unscathed, Wenger’s side will be looking to continue their impressive form as they play host to mid-table Stoke City.

Coming off the back of an utter annihilation of West Ham last week – led by the formidable Sanchez – Arsenal must be favourites to continue their 13 game unbeaten run in the Premier League against a stuttering Stoke side. The Gunners will also be boosted by their 4-1 victory away at Basel in midweek, which saw them top their Champions League group for only the second time in the past seven years.

Having scored nine goals in their last two games, the home crowd will expect goals in Saturday’s fixture. Central to Arsenal’s goalscoring form, is the mercurial Alexis Sanchez, who is now joint top scorer in the League with Diego Costa – both have scored 11 goals. Another potential aid to Arsenal’s goalscoring ability is the potential return of Hector Bellerin to the side, who although may not score goals himself, his penetration down the right-hand side is so pivotal to Arsenal’s attacking play. Gabriel, however, has deputised very well in the right back slot and has been very stout defensively. 

Buoyed by a comfortable win at home to Burnley, Stoke City will not be pushovers. They’ll be looking to improve on their fairly average start to the season, epitomised by their collection of four points from a possible 12 in November. Hughes’ side have failed to win at the Emirates since their promotion to the Premier League in 2008, and their manager has preached caution this time around. Although their form has been poor, Stoke City still have some very good players capable of spoiling Arsenal’s good week. 

Sitting three points behind leaders Chelsea, it is imperative that Arsenal capitalise on their recent form, and keep the pressure on their London rivals. With Liverpool and Manchester City both sitting a point behind, it is just as essential for the Gunner’s not to slip-up.

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