Arsenal vs. Stoke City. It's a clash of footballing styles, perhaps the clash of football styles. From one point of view, it's about eleven highly-skilled athletes attempting to play football the way it's meant to be played while having to navigate around the thuggish attentions of a bunch of madly gibbering ruffians. From the other, it's eleven brave warriors giving their all on the pitch against a whiny group of overpaid, entitled pansies who misplaced their spines sometime around birth. It all depends on one's point of view.
The Gunners have rather notoriously had problems with Stoke in the past (don't worry, Arsene, the bad Rory Delap man is gone now), but with their Champions League status in some doubt thanks to a poor first half of the season, they're going to have to pick up three points here to keep pace with the likes of Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for fourth place.
Both sides were active in the transfer window, with Arsenal picking up Nacho Monreal and the Potters grabbing Brek Shea as well as Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland. With Andre Santos the only other option at left back for the hosts, don't be surprised to see Monreal get his Emirates debut on Saturday.
Arsenal injuries and suspensions
Out: Kieran Gibbs (thigh), Gervinho (Africa Cup of Nations), Francis Conquelin (hamstring). In doubt: Thomas Vermaelen (ankle), Mikel Arteta (calf).
Stoke City injuries and suspensions
Out: Brek Shea (foot), Marc Wilson (leg).
Date/Time: Saturday, February 2nd.
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England
TV Information: Fox Soccer Plus (USA).