Stoke v Arsenal: Crouch a concern for Gunners as Lacazette looks to equal 26-year-old record


Arsenal ended a six-game winless streak at Stoke last season and head to the Potters in high spirits following a tumultuous win over Leicester last week.

 

Arsenal have not won their opening two games to a Premier League season since 2009/10

Arsenal are notorious for their spring-time collapses that regularly see them crash out of the title race and the Champions League within a month. But their early-season form is also something that needs addressing. The Gunners have not won back-to-back matches at the start of a league season in eight years. They beat Everton 6-1 away and then spanked Portsmouth 4-1 at home back in August 2009. One goalscorer still in the Gunners squad now is Aaron Ramsey, who netted the fourth against Pompey.

 

Arsenal have not beaten Stoke by a single goal in any of their last eight encounters (W5 D1 L2)

Stoke is a notoriously difficult place for Arsenal to visit but when the Gunners are on song they usually have no problem with the Potters. Arsenal have not had to grind out a result against Stoke since a 1-0 home win in February 2013. Since then, they’ve either drawn, lost or convincingly smashed their opponents. Arsenal beat Stoke home and away last season — 3-1 at the Emirates and 4-1 away from home. You have to go back to May 1950 for the last time Arsenal bagged four goals at Stoke (a 5-2 win in the old First Division).


 


On average just one yellow card has been awarded in each of the last four games between Stoke and Arsenal

Stoke v Arsenal has a reputation of being a feisty affair. But it’s not when it comes to cards. Since Stoke’s promotion in 2009 there have been 45 yellow cards and three reds spread across their 19 games with the Gunners. That's 2.4 yellows a game. Last season Premier League games averaged 3.7 yellow cards — an all-time high for the league. Stoke have not had a player booked against Arsenal in any of their last three outings. So as niggly as this tie usually is, the fouls rarely amount to cards.

 

Peter Crouch has scored more league goals against Arsenal (9) than any other club he's faced

Uncertainly over Peter Crouch’s future remains as Stoke boss Mark Hughes assesses his squad with less than two weeks of the transfer window remaining. But Crouch, even at the age of 36, remains seemingly valuable to the manager. Crouch will likely be a super sub for most of this season but that will suit the former England striker nicely. His height remains useful when Stoke are chasing games and he may get a late run-out against Arsenal this weekend. Crouch has scored in his last two home clashes with the Gunners and isn’t a bad shout to net again.

 

Alexandre Lacazette can become the first Arsenal player since Ian Wright in 1991 to score in his first two league appearances for the club

Arsenal have signed their fair share of legendary strikers in the Premier League era. Denis Bergkamp, Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie spring to mind. But none of them scored in back-to-back league games at the start of their Gunners careers. The last man to do that was Ian Wright back in 1991, when he bagged a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Southampton and then scored the second in a 3-2 result against Chelsea. Alexandre Lacazette scored within two minutes of his Premier League bow against Leicester last week and could make it two from two at Stoke.