Arsenal host Stoke City in the Premier League this Sunday as the Gunners will be hoping to maintain their fine recent form. Statistically speaking, it looks like Arsenal will edge this meeting. Arsene Wenger’s charges have won five of their last six games but the Potters will prove a stern test as they have enjoyed a strong start to their season with just two defeat in their first 16 competitive matches of the season.
The North London side will be feeling positive ahead of this fixture as it comes on the back of two consecutive late wins for the club. After Robin van Persie’s heroics against Sunderland last weekend, Aaron Ramsey copied the Dutchman’s feat by netting a crucial late winner of his own away to Marseille in the Champions League. Stoke also have reason to be in a buoyant mood after a comprehensive win in Europe added to their gorwing confidence in what is certain to be a hotly-contested encounter.
Arsene Wenger’s only new injury worry after his team’s expedition to France is Carl Jenkinson. The summer signing was substituted after picking up a knock to his knee at the Stade Veledrome and is rated as ”highly unlikely” to play by his manager but the bulk of the Marseille match-winners are expected to retain their starting berths. However Gervinho and especially Aaron Ramsey have given Wenger food their thought after their impressive performances the last night after replacing disappointing duo, Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin.
The three-time Premier League champions are still without Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna for several months yet. However with the news of Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby being available for action in two weeks, things are finally looking up for Wenger as his side will continue to try and climb up the Premier League table after their horrible start.
Tony Pulis’ men sauntered through a relatively simple Europa League run-out as they beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv 3-0 despite playing most of the match with just 10 men after Cameron Jerome’s dismissal. Despite his sending off, he will be in contention for the visit to the Emirates stadium. However with Kenwyne Jones, Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters also available for selection, it is difficult to know which two Pulis will choose up front for the occasion.
Rory Delap and Wilson Palacios were totally rested from continental duty midweek and they should be starting on Sunday. Stoke are only missing Ricardo Fuller through injury and are fortunate to have nobody suspended as they venture to London on Sunday quietly confident they can go back to their hometown with something.
Arsenal v Stoke City Prediction
With both teams boasting solid form in the past few weeks, it will be difficult to call a winner in this game. However with the Gunners new-look defence finally starting to gel, boosted by the safe hands of Wojciech Szczęsny, they could be able to repel Stoke’s physical, aerial threat. If van Persie maintains his red-hot form up front, he could prove be the deciding factor as Arsenal are slight favourites to edge this match.