January 09, 2015

Arsenal will be looking to extend their impressive home record against Stoke City on Saturday.

The Gunners (2-1-1) won all their previous seven Premier League matches in London against the Potters with a 17-3 goal aggregate, but have been disappointing at the Emirates Stadium so far this season - failing to win their first two home league matches for the first time since 2006.

Arsene Wenger's side have made an erratic start and collected just one point at the Emirates, where they lost 2-0 against West Ham United and played out a goalless draw with Liverpool. Their two victories have come at Crystal Palace and Newcastle United.

Arsenal boss Wenger is expecting a hard game against the Potters (0-2-2).

"They are team with a good culture of the Premier League, they know how to behave and they have experience," Gunners boss Wenger said at his pre-match press conference. "They have been here a long time in the Premier League and they have improved their technical quality. They have a lot of technical players that can give you problems.

"What we want is to focus on our own performance as we want to take off at home now. We had two good away games with positive results in difficult places and we know at home we can be efficient against anybody."

Stoke have made their worst start to a Premier League season and are winless after four matches.

Mark Hughes' side have picked up points on the road from draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City, but were edged out at home by Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion, who both won by a single goal. Stoke have now won just three of their last 14 top-flight matches dating back to early March.

Goalkeeper Jack Butland remains in bullish mood ahead of the trip to north London, despite his side's slow start to the campaign.

"It'll be a tough game for us but one that I'm fully looking forward to," Butland told his club's official website. "We've got a fantastic squad so we're confident that wherever we go we can take points.

"There are still plenty of positives to take from our start to the season and there are good signs; some really positive play and togetherness as well. We're in a good place and we're ready to go to Arsenal and put in a really good performance."

Arsenal's England striker Danny Welbeck is expected to be out until Christmas after undergoing knee surgery. Tomas Rosicky (knee) and Jack Wilshere (foot) are still absent.

Stoke will be without suspended duo Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam, who were both sent off against West Brom, while Peter Odemwingie (hamstring) and Ryan Shawcross (back) remain sidelined.

Both sides won at home last season, with Arsenal recording a 3-0 win at the Emirates in January. Alexis Sanchez bagged a brace, and Laurent Koscielny added a third for the Gunners.

Stoke won 3-2 at the Britannia a month earlier, with Peter Crouch, Bojan Krkic and Jonathan scoring before halftime. Santi Cazorla converted a penalty and Aaron Ramsey netted two minutes later, on the 70th minute, to cut the lead to one, but Arsenal couldn't find the equaliser.

The past five league meetings between these sides have been won by the home side. The last time a visiting side got a point was Arsenal's scoreless draw at the Britannia in August 2012. There has only been one away win in the 14 Premier League meetings between the sides, a 3-1 victory for the Gunners in February 2010.

Overall, Arsenal have the edge in Premier League clashes, winning eight times to Stoke's four. There have been just two draws, and the Gunners have outscored the Potters 25-14.

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