Arsenal vs Stoke – Premier League preview and team news

Arsenal will be looking to make up significant ground in the race for the top four as they host Stoke City, who have lost on all of their previous visits.

The manner of their victory at West Ham United on December 28 suggested that the Gunners were beginning to mean serious business in what has been a very patchy season, only to suffer another self-inflicted setback away to Southampton and fall three points behind the Saints in fourth.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny came in for considerable criticism afterwards and the scrutiny on the Pole is yet to go away, and he was not between the posts for the FA Cup victory over Hull City, in which Alexis Sanchez was a class apart once again.

Despite their previous record in this particular fixture, Stoke should come into this believing they have a chance of coming away with a point at the very least having earned some fine away results so far this season, and they had a strong run over the festive period.

Mark Hughes knows his team is very capable of causing Arsenal numerous problems, and will hope that Peter Crouch can unsettle the home defence. The Potters will also be a difficult side to break down, something which they showed consistently in taking seven points from games against Everton, West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United.

Danny Welbeck is injured for Arsenal, but they are boosted considerably by the return of Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini.

Stoke are without Mame Biram Diouf and have doubts over Marc Wilson and new loan signing Philipp Wollscheid, but Bojan Krkic, Victor Moses and Marc Muniesa are all fit again.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Arsenal v Stoke

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