Arsenal host Stoke tomorrow afternoon at the Emirates. So here are 10 things you should know about the two sides:
There appears to be a lot more optimism around the Emirates following the closure of the transfer window. As well as keeping all of their key players, they recruited German sensation Mesut Ozil in a club record deal.
1. Looking at the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index on the back of Arsenal’s victory at Sunderland it is clear top see why Arsene Wenger invested so much money in the German. Ozil completed 59 passes in the opposition half, more than any other player in the league. The German is yet to score this season, but 888sport.com have Ozil at 15/2 to score the first goal of the match.
2. Ozil has also topped the Premier League in the number of attacking contributions made (based on passes in opposition half, crosses, shots and dribbles), with 63.
3. Hot on his heels was rejuvenated midfielder Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman continued his impressive start to the season by making 57 attacking contributions. He has made 167 attacking contributions so far this season, which is more than anyone else in the league.
4. Ramsey has also been incredibly impressive defensively. Only Lucas Leiva has made more tackles than Ramsey’s 27.
5. On the other hand, Santi Cazorla will be desperate to improve his defensive record this campaign. The Spanish maestro has attempted 16 tackles this season, but only been successful in one of them.
6. Mark Hughes was brought in to alter Stoke’s style of play, and thus far this season it appears to have been successful with the Potters sitting pretty in seventh.
7. Stoke’s defence, however, has maintained much of the steely grit that was characteristic of Tony Pulis’ tenure. They have only conceded two goals so far this season, and much of the credit should go to Marc Wilson. His 26 tackles are more than any other defender in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
8. Geoff Cameron is another Stoke defender who has impressed this campaign, and he continued his fine form against Manchester City. He made 7 tackles against Manuel Pellegrini’s men – more tackles than any of his team-mates. 888sport.com are offering odds of 13/2 for Stoke to keep a clean sheet against the Gunners.
9. A player that Stoke did well to hang on to over the summer was Asmir Begovic, and, so far this season, the Stoke shot-stopper has cemented his status as a top class goalkeeper. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, only Simon Mignolet has made more saves.
10. Steven N’Zonzi has been at the heart of the Hughes’ revolution, featuring in every minute of Stoke’s league campaign so far. He has underlined how important he is to the ‘new’ Stoke, by completing a pass in the opposition half every 2.9 minutes this season.