The Arsenal are flying at the moment. It was another impressive and comfortable 1-4 win at Basel in the UEFA Champions League that saw us finish first in Group A after PSG bottled it by drawing at home to Ludogorets. We take that confidence into Saturday’s Premier League game at home to Stoke City.
- Arsenal have won each of their last 14 home games in all competitions against Stoke City, keeping eight clean sheets in the process.
- Stoke’s last away league win at Arsenal came in the first game of the 1981/82 season, with Lee Chapman scoring the only goal of the game.
- Arsenal are now on a 13-game unbeaten run in the Premier League (W9 D4 L0); their longest such run in the competition since a run of 16 games that ended in April 2011.
- Stoke City have lost only one of their last nine Premier League games (W5 D3 L1) and have won their last two matches in the competition without conceding a goal.
- The Potters have lost all eight of their visits to the Emirates in the Premier League. Only at Old Trafford have they gone longer without a win since being promoted in 2008 (nine games, W0 D1 L8).
- Alexis Sanchez scored twice and assisted another goal in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Stoke in January 2015.
- Sanchez has had a hand in 25 goals in his last 25 Premier League appearances for Arsenal (18 goals, seven assists).
- This is Sanchez’s joint-best goal return after 14 apps of a league season in Europe (11 goals), equalling his 11-goal tally for Barcelona in 2013-14. If he scores in this game, it would be his best goalscoring start to a European league season after 15 games.
- Peter Crouch has scored eight times against Arsenal in the Premier League – only against Blackburn does he have as many goals in the competition.
- The Gunners have made a higher proportion of their passes in the final third of the pitch than any other team in the Premier League
(Stats Courtesy of Statszone)
Arsenal could welcome back Hector Bellerin from injury. Santi Cazorla had a successful achilles tendon surgery and will be out for the long term joining Per Mertesacker, Mathieu Debuchy and Danny Welbeck. The rest of the squad are fully fit.
Stoke defender Bruno Martins Indi is available despite being caught by an accidental elbow incident last weekend.
However, fellow centre-back Ryan Shawcross is again set to miss out with a calf problem.
Geoff Cameron is still sidelined by a knee problem, but Marko Arnautovic is fit despite suffering a knock against Burnley.
HOW BOTH TEAMS WILL LINE UP
We are doing pretty well at the moment and last weekend, we scored 5 goals away at West Ham. I expect Arsene Wenger to retain the same line up as at West Ham. If Bellerin is passed fit, he could replace Gabriel Paulista at Right Back. ”Kostafi” will return alongside Nacho Monreal in front of Petr Cech. Granit Xhaka will partner Francis Coquelin behind Mesut Ozil in midfield. Alexis Sanchez will lead the line; flanked by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott.
Stoke had a comfortable 2-0 win last weekend against Burnley and Mark Hughes will not make many changes. He has switched to 3-4-3 in recent games and that has brought out the best in Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri either side of Jonathan Walters in attack. Goalkeeper Grant should continue in goal. Bruno Martins Indi and Marc Muniesa will be in Central defence in the absence of Ryan Shawcross. Erik Pieters and Glen Johnson at lateral defensive positions. Joe Allen was benched in the last game but he should return to the starting XI to partner Imbula in central midfield. Mame Biram Diouf will continue in midfield.
Arsenal have won every league game at home to Stoke City in the premier league. Alexis Sanchez is the man on form alongside Mesut Ozil. We are scoring goals from left, right and center (9 goals in the last 2 games). Martins Indi and Muniesa at centre back for Stoke is a weak partnership and our attackers should thrive. Oxlade-Chamberlain was impressive last weekend and I hope he carries on that form in support of the unstoppable Sanchez. The virtuoso performance of Lucas Perez on the right side in midweek should strike a nerve in Theo Walcott and i expect him to up his game in a fight to keep his place.i
Stoke City offer threat from set pieces especially with Xherdan Shaqiri and we must be careful not to concede unnecessary free kicks in dangerous areas. Marko Arnautovic must be watched closely by either of our full backs. Joe Allen makes undetected runs into the box and can be dangerous.
The key to us winning comfortably tomorrow is to keep possession and put Stoke on the backfoot throughout. If Alexis Sanchez finds spaces, he will do the magic and I expect him to push the team on. It won’t be an easy game especially as we seem to be a little lethargic at home. I believe we will win 3-0