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Arsenal vs Stoke City Preview

February 1 2013 By Mike Gonçalves
Arsenal fans will get to see their latest signing on display at the Emirates when the Gunners take on Stoke City.

The transfer window was coming to a close and Arsenal fans were desperately hoping that Arsene Wenger would announce more signings, but the truth is, Nacho Monreal turned out to be the only one. 

At the age of 26, Monreal made the trip from Spanish League and Champions League side Malaga. With Kieran Gibbs out with a thigh injury and Andre Santos being a serious liability, the new Arsenal number 17 will most likely get his first start for the London side on Saturday. 

 

Stoke arrives at the Emirates knowing that they have only managed one victory on the road in 12 Premier League attempts. Last season, the Potters finished with four victories away from the Britannia, so they have some catching up to do if they want to at least match their away wins.

With six draws and five losses on the road for Stoke, they have also only managed to score eight goals on the road. That is less than a goal per game average for Tony Pulis' side. 18 goals against also is not too flattering as they are allowing an average of 1.5 goals per game.

A match against Arsenal who has the most goals scored at home in the Premier League along with Manchester United could have Asmir Begovic facing a long day.

Mikel Arteta is set to return to the Arsenal bench after recovering from a calf strain that has kept him out of action for the last three weeks. Captain Thomas Vermaelen is a doubt for the match with an ankle injury.

 

Previous Matches

08-26-12 Stoke City 0-0 Arsenal

04-28-12 Stoke City 1-1 Arsenal

10-23-11 Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City

05-08-11 Stoke City 3-1 Arsenal

02-23-11 Arsenal 1-0 Stoke City

02-27-10 Stoke City 1-3 Arsenal

 

Prediction

After another horrendous start to yet another match on Wednesday, Arsenal fans are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what is going on with their beloved Arsenal.

Many are quick to point the finger at Arsene Wenger, but looking at how the Gunners are able to just kick it up a notch and start playing attractive and proper football makes it difficult to blame the manager. Yes Wenger is the one who puts the match strategy together, but how could even just a few words from him change the urgency behind Arsenal's play?

As has been the norm as of late, Arsenal can not seem to figure themselves out in the first half of very much every match. They come out very static and do not seem to have any specific idea as to what they should or need to be doing offensively. We will not even bother talking about the defensive frailties at the moment.

All of a sudden, their second half turns into a quick paced match with the players not only moving but they also seem to have found their creativity that they left in their locker. So how can fans really blame Wenger? It looks more like a lack of belief in themselves more than anything.

Belief or no belief, Tony Pulis will be hoping Arsenal can be as generous as they have been lately, given the fact that his side has only managed eight goals away from the Britannia Stadium. 

Monsieur Wenger will be praying that his side can finally come out full of energy and confidence right from the start of the match.

The last eight meetings between these sides in London have not been very nice to the Potters. Arsenal won all eight meetings and posted 22 goals while only conceding four.

With the way Arsenal's back line has been playing as of late, Stoke's chances of scoring are pretty good, but keeping Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott off the score-sheet could be a difficult task. 

Stoke will put together their normal game plan against the Gunners. Frustrate them and go hard into every tackle. The Arsenal players are known for being soft when it comes to physicality while the Stoke players do not generally shy away from a tackle.

If Arsenal comes out sluggish once again, we could see Arsene Wenger set his long puffy coat on fire due to his frustrations with his squad.

Arsenal's talent should allow them to see off Stoke on Saturday, but as always, Arsenal does like to keep things interesting.

Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City

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Arsenal vs Stoke City

Date/Time: Feb 2, 201310:00
Competition: England Premier League
Venue: Emirates Stadium (London)

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