Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that his team must not forget their style of play and game plan during the game against Stoke City tomorrow afternoon. The Gunners and the Potters have had something of a rivalry since the infamous incident when Ryan Shawcross lunged at Aaron Ramsey and broke the Welshman’s leg. However, Wenger insists that all that is in the past and there is no special rivalry between the two sides.
In the buildup to the game, current Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross warned Arsenal to expect a hostile reception at the Britannia and said that his team would be looking to capitalize on that and hand Arsenal a defeat. The Gunners have been highly unsuccessful against the Potters at the Britannia, winning only once in seven previous attempts.
But Wenger says that it is a football game, not a ‘hate game’; and that his team would be looking to go there and play football as per norm. He did acknowledge, however, that is was a tough place to travel to and that Arsenal would have to be at their best to secure a win.
It’s always a tough and very committed place to go but we prepare ourselves to be at the level of our commitment and dictate the way we want to play. The most important thing is to not forget how we play our game.
They have a little bit of a different style. Against us it’s always a very committed game anyway.
It’s a football game, it’s not a hate game. You want to focus on playing football.
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I think we have four draws and two losses against them [in the last seven], and not enough wins, so we have a good opportunity to add one.
I believe it’s a tough place for everybody. They don’t lose many games at home, they are a stable team in the Premier League and they have a good record against many big teams.
Arsenal head into this game on the back of three successive wins, while the Potters are on a run of three straight defeats. During the game tomorrow, our main focus will have to be in keeping their attacking moves to a minimum. Our forwards are top quality and will surely score a goal if we play like we have been playing recently; but our back line still remains vulnerable following a couple of injuries this past week. If we can be strong aerially, especially when they start lobbing balls forward to Peter Crouch, then maybe we can extend our winning streak to four games.