Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick-off: 13:30 (BST)
Arsenal have a chance to go top in the league today with a win against a physical Stoke side at Emirates. Arsenal’s current 6 games winning streak offers great encouragement to the squad in their chase for the silverware this season.
Stoke City travels to North London on a good form of their own. They have already taken seven points and last week, they completely dominated a good Manchester City. Neutrals can expect a good battle between the two teams who follow two different type of football philosophies.
Arsene Wenger will miss their chunk of stars including Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Abou Diaby, Lukas Podolski, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla are all ruled out due to injury.
One good news is that their captain Thomas Vermaelen returned to full fitness and will start the game from the bench.
Stoke City FC
Marc Muniesa is out with an injury while Charlie Adam will go through a late fitness test before the clash to decide about his participation.
Arsenal (Probable XI): Szczesny; Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna; Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Flamini, Walcott; Giroud
Stoke City FC (Probable XI): Begovic; Pieters, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron; Arnautovic, Ireland, N’Zonzi, Wilson, Walters; Jones
Arsenal are expected to use the same flexible 4-2-3-1 formation with Ozil playing just behind Giroud. At Emirates, one can expect Arsenal to dominate the game from the word go. Surprisingly, Arsenal’s away form is much better than their home form. This is mainly due to the fact that opponents come to Emirates with a defensive mentality and try to hit Arsenal on counters. But, Arsenal are no more a one dimensional tiki taka team. They are trying lots things like long balls and low lined defence which they rarely used in previous years. With Stoke taking the same defensive counter attack route, Arsenal need to have a plan B ready if their beautiful football fail them today.
Now let’s see some strengths and weakness of both the teams,
- Wing attack
- Offside Traps
- Creating goal scoring chances
- Defence (Man Marking)
- Winning the ball back
- Physical game play
- Set Pieces
- Prone to counter attacks
- Struggle against defensive teams
- Lack of goals
- Lack of creativity
Even with Arsenal’s amazing recent form, it won’t be that easy for them to breakdown disciplined Stoke defence. But they have more than enough creativity and attacking strength in the team to secure three crucial points today that will put them top of the league table.
Arsenal 2 – 1 Stoke City