After a tough week which saw Arsene Wenger pick a strong Arsenal side to face Basel in Switzerland on Wednesday and with a Premier League match away to Everton coming up on Tuesday, the boss could hardly have asked for a better fixture for this weekend.
While Arsenal have often struggled in our away games against the Potters, the record against them at home is exemplary, with 14 wins in a row in all competitions. The last time Stoke beat Arsenal on our own turf was way back in 1982, so we have good reason to be confident of securing the three points at the Emirates today.
The main threat to this in the manager´s mind is the danger of the players taking the result for granted and therefore not putting in the effort and focus needed to win any EPL match, which is why the preview on the Arsenal website has the Frenchman warning his team of the dangers of complacency.
Wenger said, “Between confidence and complacency is a very short way – top-level competition doesn’t tolerate that. We want to keep our confidence level high but also our urgency level very high.”
Having said that, the boss has been very pleased with the desire and determination to win that the Gunners have been showing this season, so he is not getting at the players, just trying to ensure that they keep doing the things that have got us right in the title race up to this point.
He went on, “What has pleased me most [recently] is that we have played like a team who really wants to win each game and has a relentless attitude. What’s also pleased me is that when you have a big win, sometimes the focus goes. To reset, refocus and win again in a convincing way [is fantastic].
“We have had a good week until now but now we have to show we can finish it in a very positive way, and refocus to play a Stoke team who are in a completely different way to West Ham in terms of confidence. West Ham lacked confidence but Stoke are on the way up, so we have to prepare for that.”
Arsenal have been guilty of complacency in the past but is this version of the teamgoing to avoid it and put the Potters to the sword as we should_