By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger admits he has been impressed with the football Stoke have played this season - particularly in Europe.
Tony Pulis’s side showed their quality in an exciting Europa League run that saw them reach the last 32 before succumbing to Valencia.
And Wenger expects a major test when his side visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
“We know what is at stake and we know that Stoke is always a difficult opponent for us,” he told Arsenal Player.
“That is why our desire to win this game will be highly needed. Our commitment will need to be 100 per cent.
“They play, this year especially, much more. I have seen some games where they have played really well in Europe as well.
“Of course the fact they have done so well in Europe shows they can compete with the teams that they play.”
Wojciech Szczesny has dealt with 98.5 per cent of crosses he has come for this season according to Opta, a better rate than any other goalkeeper, and Wenger admits the Pole will have to be at his best on Saturday.
“We encourage him to do that and that means he can come out for even more balls,” he said. "Because he is successful you want him to be audacious on that side of his game because he can be really good.
“The timing of his crosses is good and we will encourage him to do it. That will be needed at Stoke.”
Watch the full interview with the boss on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source