Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes his side must recover from their recent struggles as they take on Arsenal tonight.
Mark Hughes insists Stoke have the ability to cause an upset as they seek to make it four wins from Arsenal’s seven Premier League visits.
“We know if we do the right things and are competitive, we can cause Arsenal problems,” Hughes said.
“We want to be positive, get at their back four and not let them get into any rhythm. Every club I have been at, the key is to break up that rhythmic passing they’ve got to effect what they want to do and then obviously you get a benefit from that.”
“Over the years we have made it really difficult for Arsenal to play their game. Historically, we’ve always caused them problems with the backing of our crowd and with the way we have been playing.I think we are a different team now from the early seasons in the Premier League, but we can still be competitive and make it difficult for anybody.”
“Having played against Liverpool and Manchester United, going up against Arsenal won’t present any apprehension.We know it’s difficult, but we will make it difficult for Arsenal and I think they understand that.”
Hughes remains an admirer of Arsenal’s playing style but believes they have a greater cutting edge now thanks to their summer transfer activities.
“They will always keep the ball, but threat wise they have added to it with Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck coming to the Emirates and look stronger in that department, which hasn’t always been the case in recent years.”
Stoke come into this game on the back of defeats at home to Burnley and then away losses against Liverpool and Manchester United. However, Hughes believes their form is better than what the results suggest and there are no issues regarding morale or confidence tonight.
“I’m not disturbed by the level of performance because that’s been good, it’s just that we haven’t taken advantage of good performances.I’d like to think people are encouraged by what we produced (at Liverpool and Manchester United). Our confidence levels haven’t been dented in any shape or form.”
Tonight’s game will be preceded by what the club is describing as an embrace of players from both teams ahead of a collective photo. The gesture is part of football’s tribute to the 100th anniversary of the legendary game in no man’s land when Allied and German soldiers ceased fighting momentarily on Christmas Day 1914. The gesture may be especially touching at the Britannia Stadium given the animosity between the two clubs over the years.