Arsenal will stand up to Stoke insists Arsene Wenger

 

Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal will have to "combat" Stoke's aerial threat at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow, but feels the Gunners can play their way to victory.

Arsenal do not have the best of records at Stoke, winning on just one of the last four visits, which came in the most testing of circumstances in February 2010 when midfielder Aaron Ramsey suffered a broken leg.

However, despite being acutely aware of the need for his side not to be outmuscled again by Tony Pulis' men, Wenger believes if his team play to their own strengths, then the Gunners can get the victory needed to stay on track for third place.

"We have to combat in the air because with [Peter] Crouch up front, he is technically good, he can bring other people in, but as well we cannot forget to put the ball down and play our game," Wenger said.

"We are ready to win. If you think are we ready to win petty, it depends what you call petty, but we will be faithful to the way we play football, that is for sure.

"We will not compete with Stoke playing an unusual game, we can only win if we play our game.

"We will be faithful to trying to play football well."

Wenger, though, knows it will be no easy ride against the Potters.

"First of all, Stoke are a good side. They get you to a game where you have to prepare mentally," he said.

"We have conceded goals from long throws or from corners - and I think they have one of the best [home] defences in the league. It is difficult to score goals against them."

Arsenal have forced themselves back up into the top four of the Premier League with a fine run of form.

However, there is still some work ahead to secure third place, after losing at home to Wigan and then be held to a frustrating goalless draw by Chelsea just 72 hours before their famous result in Barcelona.

Should the Blues go on to win the Champions League against hosts Bayern Munich in May and fail to finish in the top four, then they would usurp one of their rivals to enter the group stages.

Wenger's men currently lead Newcastle by three points, but having played a match more.

While the Arsenal manager feels the rule is "not completely fair", he also believes it would be "illogical" for the holders not to be able to defend the title.

"It is the rule that everybody knows before the season starts, nobody complained and if Chelsea win then England will have four clubs represented in the Champions League. We have to accept it," Wenger said.

"But the surprise of the season is neither Chelsea, who are not even in the Champions League places at the moment which is very unusual, nor Bayern, are top of their leagues. That shows you how unpredictable the Champions League is."

Off the pitch, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has spoken again of a desire to increase his stake in Arsenal's parent company.

At present, Usmanov - whose Red & White Holdings group are the second largest shareholder at just under 30% - does not have a seat on the board, unlike majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who completed a takeover last year.

Wenger believes so long as he is left with total control of team affairs, and behind-the-scenes changes would have no impact on the day-to-day running of the squad.

"I always think it is important in a big club that everybody does his job. I have zero shares so I cannot sell him anything. For the rest I don't want to be involved in that," the Arsenal manager said.

"That [a seat on the board] is a decision which has to be made by the board, who is represented there.

"Why not? As long as we have the freedom to decide on the sporting side, I have not to decide what is going on with the board."

PA

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?