Stoke City vs Arsenal: Preview, Live stream and TV channel info, Team News, Prediction, Betting odds
Arsenal will look to get points when they face a tough assignment against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday. Arsenal are currently third behind Leicester City and Manchester City. Meanwhile, Stoke have shown great potential this term and sit pretty at seventh in the table. This fixture has traditionally been tough for the Gunners and both sides have had a history of fierce physical battles.
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Channel: StarSports 4, StarSports HD4.
Date and Time: Sunday, 17 January 2016 – 16:15 GMT (21:45 IST)
Venue: Britannia Stadium
Stoke City have managed to cope well with the absence of Xherdan Shaqiri and Geoff Cameron. The two players will not be available again against Arsenal. However, Stephen Ireland and Phil Bardsley are available for selection following their return from injury.
Mark Hughes maintained that Marc Muniesa is recovering well and has been working with the club's physios. Striker Marko Arnautovic was taken off by Hughes in midweek as he had a tight hamstring, but he has passed his fitness test and should start up front for the hosts. Jack Butland has been solid in goal, and Joselu can keep his place in the team following his goal in midweek.
Arsenal are expected to have Alexis Sanchez back for this game, but Arsene Wenger revealed that they might be taking a gamble if the Chilean starts. So we can expect him to be on the bench. New signing Mohamed Elneny is also available for the game. In recent weeks, Arsenal have managed to stay injury-free which has meant they will go into the game with a good bunch of players.
Tomas Rosicky may, however, miss out as Wenger expects him to play a game with the Under 21s first after his long injury layoff. Arsenal’s defence is well settled and changes cannot be expected. Joel Campbell should keep his place following his impressive performance in midweek. Wenger might go in for Elneny instead of Flamini given the physicality of Stoke at home.
Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin all remain sidelined for the Gunners.
Stoke City (4-2-3-1): Butland; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters; Whelan, Afellay; Walters, Bojan, Arnautovic; Joselu.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny, Ramsey, Campbell, Ozil, Walcott; Giroud.
Stoke City come into this game on the back of two consecutive victories, the last of which was a 3-1 win over Norwich City at home. They are on a good run as they have beaten the likes of Manchester United and Everton in the last five games. They progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup as well.
The win against Norwich was their third in the last five games after they lost the other two games against Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Mark Hughes has inspired Stoke to play creative football as well this term with the inclusion of players such as Bojan, Afellay and Shaqiri. Up front they have looked strong with Walters and Arnautovic providing the goals. However, with 24 goals scored, they are on the bottom half of the goals scored standings.
Last 5 games: W-L-L-W-W (Last match: Stoke City 3-1 Norwich)
Arsenal come into the tough away fixture on the back of an entertaining 3-3 draw at Anfield. The Gunners maintain their tag of the most consistent team this season with the return of three wins and a draw in their last five games. The game they lost was to Southampton on Boxing Day. However, since then, the Gunners have bounced back in fashion to register their place at the top of the table with 43 points from 21 games.
The visitors have been impressive upfront, having scored the third most goals in the league with 37 behind Manchester City’s 39 and Leicester City’s 38. The defence has shipped in only 21 goals this season, 7 of which have come in their last two away games against Southampton and Liverpool.
Last 5 games: L-W-W-W-D (Last match: Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal)
- 11 of the 14 League goals Stoke have scored against Arsenal have come in the first half.
- The Potters have lost just once at Britannia against the Gunners in seven meetings in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have lost just once in their last eight Premier League outings.
- Seven of the 15 away goals conceded by Arsenal have come in the last two matches.
- Stoke have scored in their last five league games which is the longest such run in the top flight for them.
Olivier Giroud vs Ryan Shawcross
Giroud has been in the form of his life at Arsenal this term. He has so far scored 18 goals in all competitions and will look to continue that run against a strong Stoke side. In the last game against Stoke at the Emirates, the Frenchman was on the scoresheet along with Theo Walcott in a 2-0 win.
But come Sunday, Arsene Wenger’s men will face a different proposition. Stoke play a physical game at the Britannia and traditionally Arsenal have struggled to get past them. Giroud will be needed for the visitors if they are to get the three points. He, along with the 2015 German Player of the Year Mesut Ozil, will look to beat the Stoke defence.
The Potters, however, have the likes of Ryan Shawcross, infamous for breaking Aaron Ramsey’s leg back in 2010. Giroud and Ramsey share a good bond, and the French striker might be looking to get the better of Shawcross when the two sides meet. This battle could well decide the game as keeping Giroud quiet and frustrated will work in Stoke’s favor.
Arsenal’s recent run of form gives them the upper hand even though Stoke have overpowered the Gunners on home soil. But the north London side have shown with their performances this season that they cannot be overpowered by the physicality. Players such as Giroud, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will be the key to Arsenal’s success in this match.
Predicted score: Stoke City 1-2 Arsenal
Betting odds (bet365)
Stoke City – 3/1
Draw – 13/5
Arsenal – 1/1