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Stoke v Arsenal
Stoke welcomes Arsenal to The Britannia on the 28th at 15:00 GMT in a game that could ultimately affect Arsenal’s Champions League aspirations next season.
Having only netted 32 goals so far, the Potters are ranked last in terms of attacking proficiency this season. Cellar dwellers and relegation-bound Wolverhampton has in fact scored more than Tony Pulis’ men.
This is not to say that the team’s defensive record is the reason for their reputable mid-table position. Having conceded 48 goals all season long, the Potters have not kept a clean sheet since March 3rd, in a home game against Norwich.
All things considered, the Stoke faithful will have enough reason to have confidence in their team for a strong finish. With a game in hand, Stoke can land in eighth place by next week given than they get all three points in the next two games respectively. Then again (and minus the fact that the next two games will be played at home) the Potters look like they will have a lot of work to do; first against Arsenal, and then against Everton.
For all the tough luck handed down to the Gunners in the first few weeks of the season, Arsene Wenger’s troops has defied the odds, slowly but surely working their way back to the top of the ladder. Currently seated at the third spot of the standings, Arsenal however is set two wrestle against three strong teams vying for a third-place-finish: Newcastle, Tottenham, and Chelsea. And with all three teams having a game in hand, the only way for Arsenal to guarantee their third place finish is to gain maximum points here onward and hope that their contenders falter in one way or another.
Having all won but three games of their last 12 fixtures, Arsenal have slowed down as of late, having only a solitary point to show from their last two outings. And with the news of Mikel Arteta (ankle) and Theo Walcott (hamstring) out for the rest of the season, Wenger will have to scrape for every ounce of effort and inspiration from all his players. A win at Stoke should be the perfect start to their season’s end.
Stoke v Arsenal Betting Preview
Stoke against Arsenal will be a battle for vital spots at the standings. On one end, Stoke will be keen to improve on their current mid-table spot and get within a top ten finish. Arsenal on the other hand will be relishing a Champions League appearance next season, and that means they will be fighting for that third spot until the very end.
This game’s winner should be the team that scores more; a draw is likely too, but that won’t serve both teams well in the end. And because Arsenal has more to lose than Stoke if they do not win this one, expect Arsene Wenger and his men to go all out. Robin Van Persie’s role, as always, will take on the spotlight; but he will need his midfield to fill the void that Arteta and Walcott left exposed.
Verdict: Arsenal will win this game 2-1.
Tip: Arsenal to win 5/6 looks a very good prospect for punters looking play it safe.
However there are a few rewarding risks that could be hidden under the prospect of a narrow fulltime scoreline: Arsenal to win 1-0 at 13/2 is well worth considering.
All odds are from Bet365.com (£200 FREE BET!).