Writer: Tom Mckeon
Date:Saturday August 25 2012
After last week`s 1-1 draw against Reading where it was the same old story away from home for the Potters , I think it`s essential Stoke get off to a good start at home this season.
Stoke vs Arsenal really has become a grudge match, for various reasons, and both teams will be desperate to make their mark on the new season.
Arsenal are always a good team who are capable of scoring goals, but I think even the most biased Arsenal fan will be worried about tomorrow, after a 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland on the opening day and losing the likes of Van Persie and Song, Stoke away is probably the worst fixture they could`ve hoped for.
I never underestimate Arsenal, despite our success against them at the Britannia I`m always wary of the quality of footballers they have, but Lukas Podolski is no Van Persie, and without a holding midfielder, we have every chance of repeating that success.
If Stoke can impose their style early on, which they are more than capable of, we have a terrific chance. It`s all about who imposes their style, if we allow Arsenal to get a foothold of the game then we'll be in trouble, they may not be the great side they once were, but they`re still Arsenal and they`re more than capable of winning any football match.
I was talking about how crucial the first goal was against Reading last week, and I think that`s the case even more this weekend.
Stoke`s threat from set pieces could be the difference, if Stoke play like they did against Man City last year I can only see one winner, but all too often we didn`t produce that kind of performance last season, and we`ll be in trouble if we don't play that same high intensity, direct, and most importantly incisive football.
There`s no doubt it`s going to be a close game and a draw would still be a good result, but looking at the strength of our defence and the Potters` threat in the air, I think Stoke will just about edge it tomorrow.
Mckeon predicts - Stoke 2-1 Arsenal
Date:Saturday August 25 2012
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