Stoke vs Arsenal preview
Sunday 8th May 2011
Just one week until our FA Cup final date at Wembley, but Stoke will not be taking the visit of the Gunners lightly and will play a strong side with several players still out to prove that they're worthy of a Final appearance.
The pre-match build-up has been dominated by the ongoing saga of that tackle in the same fixture last year. Ramsey's bad leg break was sad for the lad, but it was only an accident and it's now well past the time to move on. Arsene Wenger's refusal to insist that it's pushed out of the headlines is typical of a man that still seems to have a blinkered view of the mighty Potters that everyone else has long since moved away from and now even appears to be rapidly losing the support of the London-centric media.
Just hide those water bottles in the visitors' dug-out.
Tony Pulis is concerned that Arsenal's slim chance of overtaking Man Utd and Chelsea relies upon the Gunners earning an emphatic win at the Brit. He told the official site: 'Arsenal come here with plenty still to play for after their magnificent win over Manchester United last week. That makes them even more dangerous than they would normally be.
'I really do have the highest regard for that football club. It oozes class and history, is respected globally and is once again brimming with world-class talent.
'Much has been made of their failure to win any trophies yet again, but we mustn't forget they are always there or thereabouts.'
Stoke City Team News:
Matty Etherington's recovery seems to be on track with the club still hopeful that he'll be fit for next weekend. Andy Wilkinson is available after suffering a dead leg in the draw at Blackpool last week and so TP should be able to field the same side that held the Seasiders
Player to watch: Kenwyne Jones
He's now on top of his game at the moment after a dire middle part of the season. THAT miss against Blackpool could be put down to an awful pitch and the keeper's fingertips so wouldn't it be great to see him get back into the scoring mood ahead of the final with a couple against Arsenal?
Arsenal Team News:
Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas is still out injured and Samir Nasri will be missing with a hamstring injury.
Defenders Gael Clichy and Johan Djourou are both doubts, but Thomas Vermaelen is likely to make his return after the Achilles problem he suffered in September.
Player to watch: Arsene Wenger
If Stoke can overcome the Gunners' just keep an eye or two on the Frenchman! It should be good fun...
Match Facts & Stats
Do you really need to be reminded?
Saturday 14th May: FA Cup Final against Man City kick-off: 3pm
Tuesday 17th May: Premier League against Man City (away) kick-off: 7.45pm