Stoke City vs. Arsenal live stream: Time, TV schedule and how to watch the EPL online
Arsenal have won two straight matches and are finally starting to look like they’ve found a vein of good form. Can they climb closer to the top four against a slumping Stoke City?
Today at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke, fifth-place Arsenal visit thirteenth-place Stoke City in an interesting matchup. Not only is this a test between a heating-up Arsenal side on the road against a Stoke team that’s been in a slump after a hot start to the season, it’s also something of a fire-and-ice duel.
Arsenal, as they’ve essentially always been under Arsene Wenger, are reliant on skill and guile to get their job done. Stoke City, even under Mark Hughes, are a very physical, direct, hit-you-in-the-mouth side. How two sides that are so opposite of one another is always fascinating to watch unfold, and this tie should be no exception.
Key player – Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)
Wait, what’s this? All of Arsenal’s attacking talent, and it’s a defender that’s tapped as key for them? No, this isn’t random; there’s very good reasons for this. Mertesacker is Arsenal’s most stout and physical defender, and against a team that plays as straight-up and strong as Stoke, that means he’s going to be the focus of their defensive efforts. Mertesacker will also play a vital role on set pieces at both ends of the pitch; his strength can help keep Stoke’s efforts to score from them at bay, and also help either clear space for his teammates to score when Arsenal are taking corner and free kicks, or even have a crack at goal himself. It’s not often that a central defender is so directly vital to the outcome of a match, so this is Mertesacker’s chance to really shine.
Arsenal can’t rely on Alexis Sanchez in every minute of every match, but fortunately for the Gunners, Oliver Giroud is healthy again and playing well. He’s likely to pick up a start today to either rest Sanchez or allow him to take a less demanding role against a very physical opponent, so now is his chance to shing. Sometimes Giroud has struggled against more physical defenders; thus, enter Ryan Shawcross. The young English international and Stoke captain is also their best defender, so keeping Giroud in check will be up to him.
Stoke City injuries and suspensions
Arsenal injuries and suspensions
Out: Nacho Monreal (ankle), Mikel Arteta (calf), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Theo Walcott (groin), David Ospina (hip), Mesut Ozil (knee), Matheiu Debuchy (ankle) In doubt: Tomas Rosicky (hip), Kieran Gibbs (hip), Yaya Sanogo (calf), Wojciech Szczesny (hip)
As is well-documented, Arsenal are horribly battered in terms of injuries right now. Stoke may not get as much press, but they are just as badly beaten up right now. With Stephen Ireland and Jonathan Walters in doubt, Stoke are missing one of their main creative sparks and their co-leading goalscorer. Missing Steve Sidwell and Glenn Whelan takes some steel out of their midfield, and the lack of Robert Huth takes away the best defensive partner for Ryan Shawcross Stoke has. They don’t have near the same depth Arsenal does, so dealing with those losses is much, much harder. Mark Hughes has his work cut out for him if he wants to maintain Stoke’s position above the relegation places in the EPL.
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 3:00 P.M. local, 10:00 A.M. ET
Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England
TV: NBC Premier League Extra Time (U.S.)
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S.)