Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson will give his pre-match view and you can get his post-match verdict in our Talking Tactics feature on Arsenal Player.

Arsène Wenger and his side host Stoke City in the Premier League on Sunday so, to find out more, we also asked journalist Michael Baggaley for his thoughts and analysis.

Stewart Robson

"Stoke haven’t performed well after games played in the Europa League this season and all Arsenal fans will hope for a similar display to the one which got them trounced at Sunderland. Indeed, their Europa game on Thursday may force Tony Pulis to mix up his side on Sunday.

"As yet, Stoke have failed to cause Arsenal too many problems at the Emirates since their return to the top flight due to their inability to counter Arsenal with genuine pace."

Scouting Report - Tactics

"It's usually a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Jon Walters playing between the midfield and the striker.

"Obviously Stoke have the reputation for being more direct than most in the Premier League and they are probably completely the other end of the spectrum from how Arsenal play. They don't make any apologies for that.

"They don't try and pass it around the back a lot, they try to get it forward and then build once the ball is in the opponent's half. It's been very successful over the last few years, more so at the Britannia Stadium than away from home. I think that is the one thing they will be looking to improve on this season.

"Being realistic I think they will try and keep the game tight rather than get at Arsenal - the Emirates is one of the most difficult places to go and play. I think they will get men behind the ball and deny Arsenal space in the Stoke half. If the game stays tight they'll look to get chances as the game wears on.

"Peter Crouch, who should play, will try and keep the ball for Stoke in the Arsenal half. Walters will do a very important job tracking back and causing problems for Alex Song - he will be a very important player.

"Pennant unfortunately missed on on Thursday with a slight hamstring problem so there is a question mark over whether he will play on Sunday. But he has been playing particularly well on the right wing so if he does play he will be a vital player.

"Stoke's two wingers are actually very important to the way they play. They are expected to get back and help the full-backs and then relieve pressure on the defence going forward. There's a perception that Stoke just hit it long but it is too simple to say that. There was a big difference when Stoke came to the Premier League. They signed Matthew Etherington halfway through the season and he made a huge difference. Suddenly they could keep possession a lot better.

"They have only lost two games all season and they were both away matches - Swansea and Sunderland. They both followed Europa League nights - the whole Europe experience is new to Stoke but obviously teams like Arsenal have done it for years. Generally they're still working out the best way to do that.

"I'll be optimistic and say a 1-1 draw, but I wouldn't put my mortgage on it."

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    21 Oct 2011