‘We are better equipped to face Stoke’

Per Mertesacker and Petr Cech

Arsene Wenger is confident that Arsenal are now better equipped to handle an away game at Stoke City.

The Gunners have won once at the Britannia Stadium in eight Premier League matches against the Potters.

Wenger’s side were beaten 3-2 at Stoke last season, but the manager is convinced they have the strength to deal with the challenge on Sunday.


“Last year we went to Stoke with a very young defence - we had Bellerin, Chambers, Martinez - and at the start of the game we got caught,” he said.


“Over the years they had a very efficient, traditional English style which nobody liked to play against and it is as well a very windy stadium. And let’s not forget for years they had that narrow pitch where every throw-in beyond halfway was a corner when Rory Delap played.

“[This time] Cech is 34, Mertesacker 30, Koscielny 30, Monreal 30… before we did not have that level of experience and that helps a little bit.

“I think [the squad] feels stronger. It is always a test at Stoke and I believe our record goes against us, but it is interesting as well because it is also a mental test to show we have moved forward and that we can deal with what they offer.

“I feel the feeling that the team moved forward in 2015. We have stabilised the results and got some consistency and the biggest challenge was to win the big games.


“That makes you feel stronger when you are fighting for the Premier League title. We have beaten United and City recently so we can do very well.”

No team that has gone on to win the Premier League has lost at the Britannia Stadium in the same season, and Wenger feels his side are ready to end their disappointing record there.

“I hope we have a good result and I will call you on Sunday night to make sure the statistics are updated!” he said.

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