Arsenal vs Stoke City
Feb 2, 2013 at 3pm (UK)
Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal managed to avoid an embarrassment against Liverpool last week as they came back from 2 goals down to end the match 2-2. Liverpool were looking dangerous as Arsenal couldn’t cope with the attacking jibes of Suarez and Sturridge. However, two quick fire goals from Giroud and Walcott saw the home crowd go exuberant and the Gunners pushed for the third, but Liverpool managed to hold on and take a point away from the Emirates.
Arsenal are currently in 6th place with 38 points on the board, 4 points behind Spurs and 3 points behind 5th placed Everton. It could have been worse for the Gunners, but Spurs drew their match against Norwich, which meant they are still at a reachable place. Arsenal have been terrific in the second half of the games recently and if they can replicate that in the first half also, 3 points is up for the grabs.
Meanwhile Stoke City are in a pretty decent form lately. Standing at 10th place in the table, they have just lost 1 in the last 5 games, drawing 2 and winning the other 2. Manager Tony Pulis signed goalkeeper Jack Butland and Brek Shea in the January window, but both the players will not be available for the game through loan moves and injuries. 3 points away from home could mean Stoke could pull ahead of Sunderland and stay firm in the top half of the table.
Team News and Injury News:
Arsene Wenger signed left back Nacho Monreal from Malaga at the very end of the transfer window to replace injured Keiran Gibbs and the Spaniard could go straight into first team tonight as their second choice left back Andre Santos have been more than an embarrassment so far. The rest of the team is expected to remain unchanged from their game against Liverpool.
French International Bacary Sagna looks like he has lost his gas recently with his performances going down every week. It is up-to Wenger to decide whether he continues with Sagna or gives Jenkinson a chance. Stoke City have no fresh injuries but still await the return of their long term absentee Marc Wilson. While Crouch and Kenwyne Jones ended up staying at the Britannia the first team is set to remain unchanged by from their midweek 2-2 draw against Wigan Athletic.
Players Out (Arsenal):
Kieran Gibbs (thigh), Gervinho (Africa Cup of Nations), Francis Conquelin (hamstring). while Captain Vermaelen and midfielder Arteta are doubtful to start but will be avalable in the bench.
Players Out (Stoke City):
Brek Shea (foot), Marc Wilson (leg).
Possible starting lineups:
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott; Podolski, Giroud.
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth; Whitehead, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Etherington; Walters, Jones.
- Arsenal have won five and lost just one of their last eight Premier League games against Stoke (D2), with four of those wins coming at the four meetings they have had at Emirates Stadium.
- Peter Crouch has scored seven Premier League goals against Arsenal; only against Blackburn (8) has he been more prolific.
- Despite the intense rivalry, there have been just six yellow cards shown in total across the four games between Arsenal and Stoke at the Emirates.
- The Potters have won just one of their last 21 Premier League away games (W1 D9 L11).
- Stoke have conceded 15 goals in their last five Premier League games. They had conceded just 14 in their previous 19 games.
- The Emirates has witnessed more goals than any other Premier League stadium this season (50).
- Arsenal have made more errors leading directly to a goal than any other team in the Premier League this season (12).
- Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last three appearances for Arsenal (all competitions).
- If only the second half of games counted this season Arsenal would be second (46 points), two points behind Manchester City (48).
- Stoke have drawn more games 0-0 than any other Premier League side this season (5).
Facts courtesy: Yahoo Sport
Prediction: 2-1 for the home side