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Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sport | By Dustin Murphy

Arsenal maintain top four hunt with impressive Stoke victory

Arsenal maintain top four hunt with impressive Stoke victory

The victory took Arsenal to within three points of the English Premier League top four and kept alive the possibility of a 20th successive season of UEFA Champions League soccer for the north London club.

Kick-off is set for 5.30pm BST.

Yes - the match will be televised on Sky Sports in the UK.

Stoke City have a full strength squad to pick from against the Gunners.

But eventually, Wenger's side turned in a clinical display to move to within a point of fourth-place Liverpool.

Mark Hughes is unbeaten in his last eight home Premier League meetings with Arsene Wenger (W5 D3), with that run spread across five different clubs - Blackburn (one game), Man City (two), Fulham (one), QPR (one) and Stoke (three).

Stoke have no new injury worries, with only long-term absentees Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland sidelined. Saido Berahino will be pushing for a start, but is likely to miss out to Mame Biram Diouf, who scored in their last outing against Bournemouth. They now trail Liverpool by just one point, but given the Reds' stuttering form, the north-Londoners may yet reel them in.

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But while Wenger cannot wait to say "told you so" to his critics Gunners defender Shkodran Mustafi is still concerned his team may have left it a little too late. The Gunners went into the game still clinging on to the hope of Champions League qualification while Stoke had seemingly had nothing to play for.

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Goals from Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi helped secure a 3-1 victory, before Wenger's side suffered defeats to Everton and Manchester City.

"I don't think like that".

Asked about Arsenal finding their form at the right time, the Germany global replied: "Well I wish we found that before. Our record stands up with anybody against Arsenal, so we will use that to our advantage".

"We still feel we could finish eighth, but we know everything has to go for us", Hughes added. So could we see Arsene wanting to dodge another curse in what could be his final game at the Britannia? "If they do that again, there will not be much space for Liverpool's creative players, which is why I am going for a draw". Travelling to Stoke certainly hasn't been his cup of tea over the years.

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