Arsenal vs. Stoke City: Match Preview and Team News

Khalid KhanCorrespondent IIOctober 21, 2011

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18 :   Robin van Persie (C) shares a joke with Arsenal team-mates during a training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group F match against Olympique de Marseille at London Colney on October 18, 2011 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Aaron Ramsey's last-minute goal vs. Marseille continued Arsenal's great current form. Arsenal have won five of their last six games in all competitions, and it finally seems that Arsenal finally have gotten away from that dismal opening of the season. After their win, Arsene Wenger believes that his side has finally regained confidence.

We have made a little step forward but we have to be humble. We are a team who has to continue to grow. It will help our confidence. If you look back at the last five or six games, you will see only one defeat. We are slowly getting there. This result will help.

On Sunday, Arsene Wenger and his squad host Stoke City. This will be a very emotional game for Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey suffered a horrifying injury against Stoke two seasons ago and will be looking for revenge against Stoke this weekend.

Stoke will try to build from their performance in Europa League after a convincing 3-0 against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. However, Stoke's away form in the league has been dismal, and Arsenal will be looking forward to exploiting that this weekend.

Stoke's style of play has always given Arsenal a lot of fits. They try to capitalize on set pieces and with Rory Delap's long throw-ins, which has exploited Arsenal's weakness in set pieces in the previous season. Hopefully, the signing of Per Mertesacker will change Arsenal's fortune this Sunday. Other than that, expect Arsenal to control possession and trouble the Stoke defense all night like they usually do.

Carl Jenkinson will probably miss the game this weekend after suffering a knee injury against Marseille. Abou Diaby is close to a return and will probably make his season debut in the Carling Cup next week, and Thomas Vermaelen could make his return next week against Chelsea FC.

Arsenal Projected lineup: Szczesny, Djourou, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Song, Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho

Stoke Projected lineup: Begovic, Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Woodgate; Etherington, Delap, Palacios, Pennant; Crouch, Jerome

Prediction: 3-1 Arsenal. Seems like the crisis at Arsenal has been averted and the team is beginning to build on its confidence from their recent performances. The defense looked solid against Marseille, and Robin Van Persie has been in a run of good form in the league. Stoke's poor away form will probably cost them this difficult fixture at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are finally starting to show their true potential and hopefully Arsenal can continue their recent success.