Stoke v Arsenal preview
Tony Pulis will demand total commitment from Stoke against Arsenal, despite the FA Cup final next week.
Last Updated: 08/05/11 9:37am
Tony Pulis will demand no less than total commitment from Stoke against Arsenal - despite the FA Cup final being on the horizon.
The Potters face Manchester City in the showpiece at Wembley next Saturday in arguably the biggest game of their history.
Pulis has warned his players he will not tolerate any of them taking it easy before the big game and that was evident against Blackpool last week as they produced a performance bristling with their usual desire.
Stoke have little to play for in terms of the league as they are comfortable in 10th place but will still prove a match for anyone in their last three games.
Arsenal's win over Manchester United last week ensure that they still retain a fleeting interest in the title race, courtesy of Aaron Ramsey's goal.
The Gunners are presently third in the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United and three behind second placed Chelsea.
Arsenal had enjoyed a 16-game unbeaten run prior to their defeat at Bolton a fortnight ago, and despite having a UEFA Champions League place secured they will still be dreaming of nicking the title from their rivals.
The main talking point will undoubtedly be the return of Ramsey to the scene where he suffered his horrific double fracture last February in a clash with Ryan Shawcross.
And having scored the winner against United last week there could even be another fairytale story for the reporters to pen on Sunday.
Ramsey is poised to continue in midfield and will start his second game in a row as he deputises for injured skipper Cesc Fabregas.
Thomas Vermaelen could start his first match since the end of August after battling against an Achilles injury for most of the campaign.
Tomas Rosicky is battling to shake off a bout of sickness to claim a starting berth.
Hower, Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri both miss the game through injury.
Johan Djourou faces a late fitness test on a ankle injury he picked up against Manchester United as will Gael Clichy on a hamstring injury.
John Carew is pushing for a first-team place after featuring against Blackpool last week after seven weeks on the sidelines.
Andy Wilkinson (dead leg) was withdrawn against Blackpool last week but has been making good progress in training this week and faces a late fitness test.
Matthew Etherington is still locked in a race against time to prove his fitness for the FA Cup final after tearing his hamstring.
Ricardo Fuller is out for the season after rupturing his Achilles against Aston Villa a fortnight ago.
Possible starting XIs:
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Delap, Whelan, Whitehead, Pennant, Walters, Jones.
Arsenal: Sczeszny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Clichy, Song, Ramsey, Walcott, Arshavin, Van Persie, Chamakh.