EPL 2012-13: Arsenal vs Stoke City Preview

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London, Feb 2: Arsenal's chances for a top-four finish looks increasingly doubtful after one win and four draws in five league games. Stoke City, on the other hand, are winless in their last five league matches.

Arsene Wenger hasn't been too busy this January transfer window, purchasing left-back Nacho Monreal for the injured Kieran Gibbs which means Brazilian Andre Santos will be considered surplus.

EPL: Arsenal vs Stoke City Preview

Arsenal were heavily linked with Barcelona striker David Villa, but they haven't had a major problem when it comes to scoring goals. Their recent defensive form may be worse, conceding 13 goals in their last eight games and going down first in their last five.

Stoke's reputation of having a strong defence seems to have disappeared after conceding 16 goals in their last six matches. Tony Pulis will be furious after his side gave away a two-goal lead against Wigan in midweek.

Gunners left-back Gibbs is expected to be sidelined for nearly six weeks with a thigh injury, but new signing Nachi Monreal is available to replace him. Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin is ruled out while Mikel Arteta could return, but captain Thomas Vermaelen is doubtful.

Stoke City have no injury concerns but new signing Brek Shea is recovering from a foot operation.


*Arsenal have won their last 10 home games against Stoke City.

*Stoke last beat Arsenal at home back in 1981.

*Stoke have conceded 15 goals in the last five league games, while they conceded only 14 in 19 league games.

Probable Lineups:

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny-Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal-Ramsey, Wiltshire-Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski-Giroud.

Stoke City (3-5-2): Begovic-Cameron, Shawcross, Huth-Whitehead, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Etherington-Walters, Crouch.

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