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Arsenal vs. Stoke: Match preview

It's up to the Potteries for a midafternoon clash.

Goals please
Goals please
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Arsenal vs. Stoke City
English Premier League
Saturday, December 6, 2014
7AM PT/10AM ET/3PM BT (otherwise known as The Way It Should Always Be)
Britannia Stadium, Stoke-On-Trent
Current League Form ARS WWinning streak! | Stoke LLLosing streak!
US TV: NBC Sports Network | Worldwide TV info

Arsenal have finally started putting together a good run of form! Back to back wins don't erase the difficult start, obviously, but they do go a long way towards making me, at least, feel a little better about where the season is headed. There are, of course, still injury concerns - Thomas wrote about Alexis Sanchez' life in the Red Zone earlier, and while the return of Giroud was a welcome blast of Gallic awesomeness earlier in the week, Nacho is of course the latest piece of broken crockery, and a lot of Arsenal players are still working their way back to health.

What better time, then, to visit the fortress of gentility, honor, and fair play that is the Britannia Stadium?  The good news is, Stoke are just as broken as Arsenal; Jonathan Walters and Robert Huth are late doubts, and four or five other regulars including Peter Odemwinge are out. Ryan Shawcross is playing, though, so that's a thing.

Arsenal have looked less wobbly in their last few matches; one hesitates to say a corner has been turned just yet, but the recent defensive stability and offensive, uh, not-giving-upness? Patience? is nice to see. Despite the patchwork nature of whatever random 11 gets thrown out to play every game, it seems like that 11 is starting to figure out how to make things work.

As with the Southampton game, I can't say this should be an easy win, but Arsenal have enough to take all three points from a Stoke side who are struggling at home this season (three losses already). So go take them, already. Stoke don't deserve happiness.