Arsenal vs Stoke preview
5th December 2009
One of the big clashes of the season for the Potters with another visit to the capital and their second ever visit to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are still smarting after the midweek defeat at Manchester City in the Carling Cup and it's now a month since Wenger's team even scored a goal, let alone earned a point in the League after successive defeats against Sunderland and Chelsea. So the Potters will be up against it, but they'll be looking to not repeat the 4-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Gunners in a bout of end of term irrelevance last season.
Tony Pulis is certainly worried that Arsenal's lack of recent goals and points could work against the Potters and reminded fans that they should remember how far we've come:
We've got to be careful. A couple of years ago we were going to Scunthorpe, now we're going to the Emirates.
People have short memories of what this football club has done over the past couple of years'.
Arsenal Team News:
Song is suspended, Theo Walcott has a hamstring injury and will be missing. Arsene Wenger will also not be able to call on Bendtner (groin), Clichy (back), Diaby (calf), Djourou (knee), Gibbs or van Persie (ankle)
Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas
The Spanish international is now in his seventh season for the Gunners after joining from Barcelona as a 16 year old in 2003. With six League goals already this season he's only one away from his highest ever League tally. Let's hope it's not against the Potters.
Stoke City Team News:
Dean Whitehead is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season at Ewood Park which will probably allow Tony Pulis to bring back Rory Delap into midfield. Ryan Shawcross is a doubt after sustaining a groin injury in that match, but Abdoulaye Faye is more than an able replacement.
Player to watch: Matthew Etherington
Hopefully all this talk about a possible place in England's World Cup squad will not take Matty's mind off his recent run of good form.
Match Facts & Stats
We'll all rather remember the 2-1 win at the Brit and Wenger's petulant remarks afterwards and will want no repeat of last season's 1-4 thumping after the Stoke players seemed to have had their minds on summer holidays rather than football.
Sat 12th December: Wigan (home) kick-off: 12.45pm * SKY TV *
Sat 19th December: Aston Villa (away) kick-off: 3pm