Team news, manager quotes, facts and figures ahead of the Premier League clash between Stoke City and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium.
Tony Pulis has no fresh injury concerns ahead of their match against Arsenal. But Dean Whitehead is serving a one-match ban after he was dismissed in last weekend’s opening league game at Reading. American summer signing Geoff Cameron is available and should begin training with his new side after he was cleared to enter the country on Thursday. Jermaine Pennant could return to the squad after recovering from the thigh injury which kept him out from the game against the Royals.
Arsenal will assess goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has a minor rib problem, ahead of the trip to the Britannia Stadium. England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) is fit again, along with reserve keeper Lukasz Fabianski (back). However, defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) will again miss out, along with Tomas Rosicky (hamstring). Midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) continues his rehabilitation from an ankle injury as does defender Bacary Sagna (broken leg).
Tony Pulis: “Arsenal are obviously difficult. They have great players and we know it will be hard. It’s one of the great fixtures for us. They are one of the top clubs in the world but our fans are always at their best when we are underdogs and that’s what we are in this game. We mustn’t get complacent. We have to ignore the nonsense from people who build you up and then shoot you down. We’ve had four great seasons in the Premier League, with four major cup quarter-finals and a final.”
Arsene Wenger: “We have nine midfielders, with Jack Wilshere set to come back in the next few weeks. This is the reason we decided to let Alex Song go to Barcelona. We have enough in midfield. He wanted to leave, we were happy to sell and now he is playing for Barcelona. I would like to remind people who question this kind of decision that Song was once described as the worst player I had ever signed and now he is playing for Barcelona. It shows that we are not doing everything so badly here.”
Since their return to the top flight, there have been five meetings in all competitions between Stoke and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium with the Potters winning three to the Gunners’ one.
Peter Crouch has scored seven Premier League goals against Arsenal; only versus Blackburn (8) has he been more prolific. He has scored in both games for Stoke against the Gunners.
In 2011-12, Stoke scored the highest percentage of goals from set pieces in the Premier League (58%), while Arsenal scored the lowest percentage from dead ball situations (14%).
Six of the nine goals Stoke have scored against Arsenal have come from set pieces.
Santi Cazorla set up seven scoring chances, more than any other player in the top flight on the opening weekend.
Stoke have picked up just 20 points in 20 Premier League games in 2012.
Stoke have scored first in all five games they have played against Arsenal in all competitions at the Britannia Stadium under Tony Pulis, and on four of those occasions inside 11 minutes.
Stoke are unbeaten in their last seven home matches (W3 D4 L0), but have drawn the last three in a row; the first of those a 1-1 with Arsenal.
Arsenal have won just one of their last six Premier League matches (W1 D4 L1).