Football News

Premier League Preview: Arsenal v Stoke City

Created on Sept. 20, 2013 11:28 AM EST

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has backed the team to continue their impressive run of form when they welcome Stoke City on Sunday.

After an opening-day 3-1 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa last month, Arsene Wenger's side have bounced back strongly with six straight victories in all competitions.

The most recent of those came in a 2-1 success away to Marseille on Wednesday in the club's opening Group F UEFA Champions League fixture.

That followed an equally impressive performance in a 3-1 triumph at Sunderland  last Saturday, a result that has left them second in the Premier League as Stoke prepare to head south to the Emirates Stadium.

And Szczesny believes cohesive defensive displays have been crucial to the team's recent success.

"We've won the last six games, four of them away from home," he told Arsenal Player. 

"We know the momentum is with us. The games are coming thick and fast because we play in every midweek games so I'm sure we can keep that going, keep the momentum going and keep getting results.

"I think it's just the desire of the whole team to defend well. We've been defending really well and then scoring goals on the counter attack."

Wenger has no fresh injury worries, with Santi Cazorla (ankle), Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Abou Diaby (knee), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) definitely out, while Yaya Sanogo (back) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) remain doubtful. 

The return to training this week of Mikel Arteta opens up the possibility of him potentially being involved in some capacity. The 31-year-old midfielder has yet to feature this season due to a quadricep injury, but Wenger revealed on Friday that his "leader" is closing in on a return. 

Mesut Ozil could make his home debut after starring against Sunderland, while midfielder Aaron Ramsey will look to continue his recent purple patch that has seen him open the season with six goals in all competitions.

Mark Hughes has had an impressive start to his tenure as Stoke manager.

The Britannia Stadium outfit lost their first Premier League game with Liverpool, but have bounced back with wins against Crystal Palace and West Ham before securing a creditable 0-0 draw at home to Manchester City on Saturday.

History, though, is against his side, with Stoke failing to take a single point from their five Premier League visits to the Emirates Stadium. 

Stoke's last trip to Arsenal ended in a 1-0 defeat in February, courtesy of a Podolski strike.

Centre-back Marc Muniesa remains the only injury doubt for Stoke, but Hughes will be hopeful he recovers from a groin strain to feature.

Marko Arnautovic could make his first start since his transfer-window move from Werder Bremen after the striker caught the eye on his debut as a 70th-minute substitute in the draw with Manchester City.

Arsenal lead the head-to-head record between the two sides, with 42 wins compared to 22 for Stoke.

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