Stoke City midfielder Ibrahim Afellay has warned Arsenal that the Potters will be up for the challenge when the Gunners visit the Britannia Stadium on Sunday January 17. The Potters have a brilliant record at home against Arsene Wenger's men in the last few years, having lost only once in the last six meetings.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 3-2 win for the home side, with Stoke pulling away in the first half scoring three goals, thus ending any hope that the Gunners had of staging a comeback. They scored two in the second half but that was too little too late as the curse of the Britannia prevails over the north London club.
The last time Arsenal won here was in 2010 but it had dire consequences on the rest of their season, with Ryan Shawcross' tackle on Aaron Ramsey leading to a broken foot for the Welshman. Ramsey has recovered well from that setback and will be looking to make it two goals in two games after scoring the first equaliser against Liverpool at Anfield.
However, Afellay is confident that Stoke can do a job on the Gunners, who can drop out of pole position with a loss, given Leicester City are level on points and Manchester City are only three behind, while having a superior goal difference.
"It's a real pleasure to play alongside these sort of players," said Afellay, as quoted by the Mirror. "These guys can make a big contribution to the game at any given second. "When you have players like that in your team, then you always believe that you can beat any side on any given day.
"It's lovely to be in this team, not just to be playing with the three forwards, but also everybody else. We have a strong squad here. I have been pleased with my performances too, but there is always room for improvement. We all know we can do even better," he added.