Hughes targets Arsenal fans to help Stoke end dismal away run


Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes that frustrating the crowd at the Emirates Stadium could be key to ending his side's dismal away run against Arsenal.

The Gunners have won each of their last 14 games at home against Stoke, keeping eight clean sheets in the process, with their last league defeat to the Potters on home soil back in 1981.

Arsene Wenger's side are in formidable form in the top flight, having gone unbeaten since their opening-day loss to Liverpool, although they have won just one of their last four at the Emirates Stadium in all competitions.

And Hughes, who saw his side snatch a point away to Manchester United last month, believes another positive result is within their reach if they can get the home fans to turn on their side.

"We are playing with confidence and that's important going into a game against one of the top teams," he told a media conference. "We're probably in the best place we could possibly be.

"We haven't had a great record there. It seems we do well against Arsenal here and they do well at the Emirates. We've done okay at ending records like that in the Premier League and Arsenal away is the only unwanted record left. Hopefully we can tackle that this weekend.

"They are very strong at the moment, individually and collectively. At the moment as a team they look in good shape and although we have confidence it's not an ideal time to go there given their form. The key for Arsenal is whether they can sustain it over 38 games. That's what at times they've struggled with and why they haven't won the Premier League for so long.

"Sometimes you can frustrate the crowd as well. It's not the most vociferous places and we're going to have a great following. [We must] keep their chances to a minimum."

Stoke are without Geoff Cameron (knee) and Ryan Shawcross (calf) is a major doubt, but Hughes expects Marko Arnautovic and Bruno Martins Indi to be available.

Hughes nonetheless aimed a pointed remark at the Football Association over Martins Indi after no retrospective action was taken against Burnley's Ashley Barnes after he caught the Dutch defender with an elbow.

"Ryan Shawcross still isn't available," he said. "He's been with the physios this week and we don't anticipate he'll be with the main group [in training].

"Arnautovic and Bruno should be okay. Everyone saw the bang Bruno got apart from the FA committee, but hey ho.

"Geoff Cameron has just got an injury that given where it is, is going to have to have more time. It's not a significant tear in the knee ligaments, it's only grade one, but it's where it is. We expect he'll be another two to three weeks."