AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Stoke City v Arsenal

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]remier League – Matchweek 2, or should that be 2(a), 2(b), 2(c) with games on Saturday, Sunday and the return of Monday Night Football.

Two televised games on Saturday – first up at 12.30pm Swansea host Man U and later at 5.30pm it’s Stoke v Arsenal at the Britannia. Potentially two tricky ties for the visitors but the sort of matches they respectively need to win to continue their much publicised title hopes in what could be a wide open year.

Arsenal have made a winning start to the new campaign but in horse racing parlance have been involved in photo finishes in both their wins.

The pre-season Community Shield against Chelsea saw it go to (ABBA) penalties which Arsenal won 4-1 and in the first game proper last weekend the Gunners came from behind to beat Leicester thanks to late goals from Ramsey and Giroud.

Their defence would have to be a worry on the evidence of what we saw that day and Stoke may be able to find a way through, although a word of caution – two of the last five home ties between these two have ended 0-0.

Stoke were beaten 1-0 by Everton last weekend – Rooney’s goal at half-time turning out to be the winner, and were beaten 4-1 in this same fixture back in May.

Stokes’s manager Mark Hughes said: “We didn’t cover ourselves in glory the last time we came out against them, so we need a marked improvement on that and I sense that from the group.

“We are hoping to involve all the signings we have brought in over the summer on Saturday. Some will start and others will be on the bench.

“We view the players we have brought in as regular starters. If we compare where we were at the end of last season I think we are stronger.”

Arsenal are still without the injured Sanchez but will welcome back defenders Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi plus midfielder Francis Coquelin.

Stoke City v Arsenal
Premier League
17:30 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
May 2017 PREMIER Stoke 1-4 Arsenal
Dec 2016 PREMIER Arsenal 3-1 Stoke
Jan 2016 PREMIER Stoke 0-0 Arsenal
Sep 2015 PREMIER Arsenal 2-0 Stoke
Jan 2015 PREMIER Arsenal 3-0 Stoke
Dec 2014 PREMIER Stoke 3-2 Arsenal
Mar 2014 PREMIER Stoke 1-0 Arsenal
Sep 2013 PREMIER Arsenal 3-1 Stoke
Feb 2013 PREMIER Arsenal 1-0 Stoke
Aug 2012 PREMIER Stoke 0-0 Arsenal

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