Arsenal v Stoke, Sunday, Sky Sports 1, 1,30pm
A few weeks ago the Gunners’ reputation as perennial underachievers looked set in stone. No transfer targets landed, a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa at home and Arsene Wenger was about as popular as Piers Morgan.
Four straight wins in the Premier and Champions League later and the ball-bursting capture of Mesut Ozil for £43.5m and all’s well at the Emirates again.
Can Stoke spoil the party? The Potters have built a not-undeserved reputation as football haters under Tony Pulis – but new man Mark Hughes has threatened to keep the ball on the ground this season.
It’s still a bit early to judge if he’s kept his word. But Stoke have hit the giddy heights of seventh in the League table after three wins on the bounce – including the lesser-spotted away win.
The visit to the Emirates today may see them revert to Plan ‘A’ of ‘Parking the Bus’. An early Arsenal goal will require a Plan ‘B’ and possibly ‘C’ if they want to get anything from this game.
Here’s five stats that could put cash in your pocket:
- Olivier Giroud is chasing his fifth Premier League goal in five games
- Giroud set a PL record by scoring the opening goal in the first four games
- Arsenal have never lost at home to Stoke in a Premier League fixture
- Aaron Ramsey has scored three goals in his last two games – six in all comps this term
- Stoke have won their last three PL games on the bounce