Arsenal seeking revenge for December defeat against Stoke
A much strengthened Arsenal side will welcome Stoke City to the Emirates, knowing that fans will expect a much better performance from them, compared to the one that they gave at the Britannia Stadium last month.
The Gunners are odds-on at 4/9 with Coral to win the match, and have Olivier Giroud back from suspension, while Mesut Ozil (a decent 6/4 anytime scorer chance) could feature for the first time in three months, after recovering from injury slightly ahead of schedule.
He appeared in good spirits in the run up to the game, posting a tweet to Arsenal kit man Vic Akers: ‘Vic, just don’t forget to put my shirt back in the dressing room on Sunday!????’
Arsene Wenger has also been talking up the impact the World Cup winner can have in the match, saying in his pre-match press conference: “He is an exceptional football player.
“He always gives you continuity in your game. He’s a very creative player and ideally you want all your best players available,” he continued.
“The advantage of these players – for example Giroud, Koscielny, Debuchy, Ozil – at the moment where most of the players in the league have played 26 or 27 games in their legs, they have four or five. If we can get them ready and fresh and competitive, it can give us a new [impetus].”
Alexis Sanchez is on fire right now and earned the man of the match award against Hull City in the FA Cup last time out, after assisting Per Mertesacker, netting the second and dazzling throughout. Most impressive about the Chilean, is that he is always moving, looking for space, interchanging, tracking back and initiating play. He makes Arsenal tick.
The former Barcelona star is a sensational 7/2 to make the net bulge first, arguably the betting steal of the year so far, considering his hit rate. It is only January and he has struck 16 times for Arsenal this season.
However, against a notoriously physical opposition, it could well be the battering ram that is Giroud, who makes the difference. In just 11 fleeting appearances he has fired in six goals for the Gunners, and odds of 4/1 appear perfect sense for the Frenchman to break the deadlock.
Stoke, meanwhile, will be keen to record the double over Wenger’s men, and since their win at the Britannia, they have lost just once in six matches. That day, Peter Crouch shocked Arsenal by scoring in the first minute, and the striker is a very tempting 10/3 to score anytime, and expose the Gunners’ weakness from set pieces.
Spaniard Bojan Krkic also came of age in that game, going on to double the Potters’ advantage, with cute finish. The ex-Barcelona man is 5/1 to find the net anytime, while Jon Walters who also scored, is 4/1 in the same market.