Match Previews: Stoke City v Arsenal

Match Previews: Stoke City v Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez's superb solo strike was typical of the Arsenal star, Arsene Wenger beamed, after the Gunners won 2-0 at Southampton on Wednesday.

The Frenchman has never finished outside the Premier League's top four in a full season at the helm and is optimistic they can gatecrash the Champions League places this time around, despite a awful run of form which saw Arsenal lose six of 11 league games. It was a very convincing win.

"It was a hard game but we expected that and I believed in the second half we could score the goals that we didn't in the first half because we created more space". Once he has the ball in the box, he's unsafe.

"We certainly aren't fazed by Arsenal, despite them coming into the game on the back of a really strong run of results", Hughes told a news conference on Friday.

Giroud settled the contest with a late header and Wenger admitted the form of his frontmen has left him with a selection headache.

"It's hard to assess now after the game", Wenger said.

"It's often the same result against the big six, we can not find the good win against one of these teams", he said. "Every time it was interesting, I think, the play".

Southampton manager Claude Puel, whose side remain 10th, felt his players deserved to take more from the game.

Wenger is likely to be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Stoke after he left the field in the first half with a hamstring problem.

"Giroud came on and the second goal was very important for us, too", Wenger added. But on Sunday we had a big win against United and now at Southampton, where historically we haven't done that well in the league. Let's not go too quickly to conclusions, and focus and give everything at Stoke on Saturday.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has now moved to talk up Alexis Sanchez, who opened the scoring yesterday.

"Maybe the City game [FA Cup semi-final] gave us confidence".

Olivier Giroud doubled Arsenal advantage in the 83rd minute following a Sanchez cross and an Aaron Ramsey header before Giroud executed the clinical finish, also with his head. Arsenal have two games in hand over them, and if Liverpool drop points at either - or both - that's one small sliver of daylight to take inspiration from.

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