Arsene Wenger says he is not worried about the crowd when they visit the Britannia at the weekend.
He instead claims their visit to the Potteries will be no different from any ground they would visit in the country.
Wenger told Arsenal.com: "“For me, [the crowd at the Britannia] doesn't matter at all. The atmosphere in the stadiums here in England is great anywhere you go, so that side doesn't bother me at all."
The Gunners boss said instead that it was on the pitch where Arsenal need to rise to the occasion, hoping he had the squad able to match Stoke's aggression.
"What I'm thinking about is [what performance] we will produce on the pitch and if we will be as aggressive and strong as Stoke. If we do that, we can beat them.”
Last season Arsenal kept a clean sheet at the Emirates but could not find the net themselves, drawing 0-0 in a hard fought encounter.
Gone are the days when Arsenal are pushovers, that's what Wenger is hoping. With Steve Bould as defensive coach, the Gunners have a new found resilience at the back and are not usually bullied defensively as occurred in the past.
This weekend is a test and chance for Arsenal to show their character, and see if it's not all bravado but the team is capable of backing up the manager's boast.
Not letting the raucous crowd get to them is the first part of that, and Wenger playing it down before the game is all part of him trying to relax his players ahead of the encounter.
image: © Ben Sutherland