Arsenal have broken a couple of bogeys in their last couple of games by beating Man United and Southampton, but today’s game against Stoke could present an even greater challenge. Not only are we playing in a stadium where we haven’t won a game in the last six visits, but Wenger is also being pitted against Mark Hughes, a manager that he has never beaten in an away game in eight previous attempts.
And Wenger’s record of losing eight of his 26 games against Hughes in all competitions (home and away) is the Frenchman’s worst against any single manager except for his arch-nemesis Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Hughes said in the Stoke Sentinel. “There will be other clubs I’m not quite so successful against, I’m sure.
“I have always liked going up against Arsenal teams, as a player and a manager, because they are one of the best teams in Europe and you always want to test yourself.
“They will always test you with pace, power and technical ability. You’ve got to get your own game right and negate their threat – and have a threat going the other way.
“It’s about taking your chances against the top teams and we haven’t been as adept at that this season and our percentage conversion is down. It would be good if we can address that.”
So with the Potters great record against us as well as Hughes statistics it could be a hairy afternoon for the Gunners. The Welsh manager was involved in some fiery confrontations with Arsenal during his career with both Man United and Chelsea, but Hughes insists there is no bad blood. “I don’t think it gets as personal as that. We just like to upset teams that maybe expect to win.
“When you beat sides used to winning it has more effect and is satisfying.
“It’s always a difficult fixture, but we always go into the game with a positive attitude. Our record is good and we won’t be fazed by them.
“They are fully focused (on Champions League qualification) and that will help us too.
“It’s our last home game and our fans will be totally behind us – and the fact it’s Arsenal adds to the mix.”
This season has been a funny one for breaking records, and I really hope that we can stop two sequences at once by beating Stoke as well as Mark Hughes for a change!