By Nick Teale
This Sunday Arsenal travel to Stoke for an FA Cup Fourth Round clash. The tie represents a brief break from Premier League action for the Gunners ahead of what has been described as a crucial run of fixtures.
It's 20 years since Arsenal won at Stoke, though the Gunners have only travelled to the Potters twice since then. However that victory came in the FA Cup but as Stoke Sentinel reporter Martin Spinks explains, Potters fans are looking to avenge painful memories of Cup Semi-Final defeats to the Gunners in 1971 and 1972.
"If Stoke were to win on Sunday, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United would all be out of the FA Cup, so if they get through this game there could be a few mutterings about winning the competition. The example of Portsmouth's campaign in 2008 is the one being quoted by those who are talking about going all the way. I think Stoke would fancy themselves in a one-off game at home. Arsenal will know all about the Britannia Stadium from last season [when the Gunners lost 2-1].
"Stoke will certainly put their strongest team out on Sunday. Last season they went to Hartlepool in the Third Round with almost a reserve team and lost 2-0 and they won't want to risk that this time. If they get into the Fifth Round having beaten Arsenal, then they could start thinking of the possibility of a trip to Wembley."
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
"The fans will definitely be up for this one. Arsenal bring the best out of Stoke fans, no question. I know Arsenal have plenty of FA Cup history but for Stoke's it is all about the two Semi-Final meetings with Arsenal in the early 70s, which is as far as Stoke have ever got. They are still pretty sore about that in these parts. It's all about revenge. But looking at the history of FA Cup ties between the two sides, Arsenal have won seven out of seven."
"For the first hour of the game Stoke will play as they would any League game but the manager won't want a replay. If scores are level with 20 minutes to go I think they will attack and try and look for a win. They won't be afraid to lose as much as they would in a League game because they will want to get a result on the day."
THE MAN IN CHARGE
"There a still a few grumbles about Tony Pulis whenever Stoke lose but the vast majority of fans appreciate what he has done. He is a cautious manager but many would say rightly so. Stoke are only halfway through their second season in the Premier League and if you judge him on results then to be where they are is incredible going really."
"They are currently in negotiations with Portsmouth over a deal for David James. The manager is keen to get him in. We believe James is keen for a move to a new club because he wants to be playing to get into England's World Cup squad. Of course he is 39 and perhaps past his best but he is still a big name."