Arsenal will visit Stoke City this Saturday, March 1 (3:00 PM in London, 7:00 AM Pacific) at Britannia Stadium, in a Premier League match. Arsenal is in the second position with 59 points, only one point below Chelsea, while Stoke City is in the 15th place with 27, three points above the relegation zone. Because of this, both teams need a victory on Saturday: the Gunners will always need the three points if they want to win the title, while the Potters need to win as many points as they can when they play at home.
Stoke City arrives to the match after losing 1-0 against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last Saturday. Even when they left Manchester empty-handed, they only lost by one goal against one of the best and most offensive teams of the Premier League, playing on the road. Before that match, they tied against Swansea City and Southampton, and defeated Manchester United 2-1 at Britannia Stadium.
The Potters‘ performance playing at home is very good in this Premier League: they won 5 out of 13 games, with 6 draws and only 2 losses. In the matches against the big teams played at Britannia Stadium, they defeated United (2-1) and Chelsea (3-2) , tied with Everton (1-1) and Manchester City (0-0) and only lost against Liverpool (3-5). Clearly, their performance at Britannia Stadium is very different from the away one: on the road, they played 14 matches, with 10 losses, 3 draws and only one victory. They won 21 points at home and only 6 playing away, so it’s vital for them to continue winning points on their pitch.
Winger Oussama Assaidi is out for this match due to knee ligament damage, while defender Robert Huth may return to play after undergoing a knee surgery in November. Huth spoke about the clash against the Gunners: “We’ve done well against the top four and hopefully we can keep that run going to get three points. To beat them, we need togetherness and a bit of luck.” [source]
On the other hand, Arsenal’s last game was a great victory, 4-1 against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium. Before that match, they lost against Bayern 0-2 in the Champions League, defeated Liverpool 2-1 in FA Cup and tied with Manchester United, the three matches played at home. Their last matches playing away in Premier League were a 5-1 loss against Liverpool and a 2-2 tie against Southampton.
Manager Arsène Wenger is probably having a headache about the defense. Both left-backs, Kieran Gibbs (buttock) and Nacho Monreal (foot), are in doubt for Saturday, and if they don’t get fit for the match, the boss will have to put centre-back Thomas Vermaelen in the left-back, which is not his preferred position. Besides, Vermaelen is back in the squad after a two-month knee injury, and Wenger surely doesn’t want him to play the entire game.
In the midfield, Jack Wilshere (hamstring) is in doubt and Mesut Özil is back after a short thigh injury, while Aaron Ramsey (thigh) is out – he won’t return before the derby against Spurs on March 16.
Stoke City vs Arsenal Prediction
I think this will be a very tough match for the Gunners. Stoke City at Britannia Stadium is a very difficult opponent, and the Potters will do everything they can in order to get a victory or maybe a tie, as they did against many big teams (victory against Chelsea and United, draw against City). However, if Arsenal can repeat what they did against Sunderland, they’ll win for sure. In my opinion, they are in a great level and will get the three points. My prediction is a 1-2 victory for Arsenal.
Stoke City vs Arsenal Television
The match will be televised on Premier League Extra Time (USA), check LiveSoccerTV for other countries.
Arsenal won the last two clashes against Stoke City, both at the Emirates Stadium. The last Arsenal victory at Britannia Stadium was in February 2010. Since then, three matches were played in that stadium between the Gunners and the Potters, with two draws and one victory for Stoke City.