Stoke City have been a thorn in Gunners flesh in season's past, perhaps a mantle now only continued by Manchester United.
Stoke City have long been able to frustrate and annoy Arsenal, particularly their supporters, who remain apoplectic over Potters fans who sing positive chants regarding the leg-breaking injury sustained by Gunner Aaron Ramsey after a particularly offensive Ryan Shawcross challenge, underlined further by rumours there will be a round of applause on the 67th minute this weekend as Stoke supporters remember/celebrate the incident.
Any success from City has largely occurred on their home ground, the Britannia Stadium and the venue where their Premier League fixture this weekend, Saturday, will be contested, however, while Manchester United remain a bogey team for Arsenal (they beat the North Londoners at Old Trafford and held them at the Emirates Stadium this season), have Arsene Wenger's team managed to turn their form against the Staffordshire outfit around?
There are, after all, reasons for the visitors to be cheerful…
Their recent form against Stoke has been strong, winning seven and losing just one of their last ten encounters with Stoke in the league.
Arsenal's away form in general has been one of the most exemplary demonstrations of ability on the road as only Tottenham Hotspur have collected more points on their travels (29), compared to the N5 lot (26).
Valuable striker Olivier Giroud has netted a number of significant goals for Arsenal, highlighted by his ability to draw first blood. The Frenchman has scored the opening goal of a game seven times this season, a Premier League high. He has also featured thrice against Stoke and not once has been on the losing side.
In Mesut Ozil, Wenger has a player who may have benefited from a slight rest. The German is also key in this fixture as, in his one game against Stoke previously, he supplied a hat-trick of assists in 79 minutes of action.
Arsenal's all-round attacking efficiency is also greater than any other team in England - the Gunners have hit the target with 55.3% of their shots on goal.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald