Arsenal travel to Stoke City for the Saturday evening kick-off in the hope of continuing to pressurise Liverpool. Here are five key players to watch.
The race for the top four is on and Arsenal, somehow, have a shot. After two successive wins over Manchester United and Southampton brought them to within three points of Manchester City and four of Liverpool, with a game in hand, they now have the opportunity to pile the pressure on the latter who don’t play until Sunday. To do so, they will have to overcome a tricky Stoke City team at the Bet 365 stadium.
Here are five key players to watch ahead of the weekend’s tie.
5. Shkodran Mustafi
Stoke City away, traditionally, has been a terrible fixture for the Gunners. Without lacking the resilience and the fight to stand up to the physical challenge that the Potters on the pitch, and the aggressive atmosphere off ot it, they would often fold under the pressure, faltering from set pieces and failing to break down a disciplined and diligent defence.
Wenger always professes about the character of his side, claiming that they are tougher than many give them credit for. However, whenever going gets tough, they do most certainly not. Or at least that has been the historical perspective.
The addition of Shkodran Mustafi last summer was a significant one. While his play on the pitch has been inconsistent – at times he has been phenomenal, at others, clueless – he is someone of real character and influence. In the hostile environment that is Stoke away, his leadership and his communication will be vital.