Stoke City manager Mark Hughes hopes to end poor away record at Arsenal

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Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is optimistic of ending the Potters’ poor record at The Emirates when they face Arsenal tomorrow (December 10).

Stoke come into the game on a good run of form, but their opponents have scored eight goals in their previous two league games.

Hughes said he believes the Potters have a good chance of getting something out of the game away at Arsenal, after ending other poor records at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge this season and last season respectively.

He said: “It’s a good run for us in the Premier League. Only one defeat in nine games is good form by any stretch of the imagination.

“I don’t think there are too many clubs who have got a better record in that period.

“We have a big game against Arsenal and clearly you want to go in to a game against one of the top teams with confidence in your performances.

“But at the moment as a team they look in good shape. Although we are confident ourselves it’s not an ideal time to go there given their form.

“We haven’t had a great record there. It seems we do well against Arsenal here and they do well against at The Emirates and we’d love to change that.

“For a long time, we weren’t able to able to get points at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge and we were able to do that last year and Old Trafford this year.

“Arsenal away is probably the only unwanted record that we haven’t got rid of, and it would be great to do that at the weekend.”

But the Gunners are in scintillating form, and Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil in particular are two players who could pick Stoke apart.

Sanchez scored a hat-trick against West Ham United last time out in the Premier League, and keeping him quiet could be the key to coming away from The Emirates with a good result.

Hughes said: “They are top level players. You have to be vigilant and make sure you don’t let them have any clear-cut chances. Once they get momentum in the game they can overpower you.

“They have always had outstanding individual players that can win games on their own even if the team is not functioning particularly well.

“But the key is that you have to give yourself an opportunity to win or get something out of the game yourself.

“We can’t allow them too much momentum in the game. If you can do that then sometimes you can frustrate the crowd as well because it’s not one of the most vociferous places to go to, so you can use that to your benefit, and we are going to have a great following as well.

“Most seasons they have runs of exceptional form but it’s about maintaining it for 38 games and that is something that they have struggled with. That is why they have not won the Premier League for such a long time.

“Maybe this year is going to be different for them. You sense that they have more focus in what they are doing at the moment.”

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