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Mark Hughes Hoping For Help From Supporters to Beat Archenemy Arsenal


Mark Hughes hopes Stoke's fans can help them get back on track when Arsenal visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Potters fans enjoy nothing more than beating Arsenal and always give Gunners manager Arsene Wenger – a critic of their style of play under previous boss Tony Pulis – a 'warm' welcome.

The rowdy atmosphere has inspired Stoke in recent matches against Arsenal, with the Potters losing just one of the last eight clashes between the teams at the Britannia.

Keeping that run going would be particularly timely as Hughes' team look to end a run of three straight defeats.

"This fixture always seems to generate a really good atmosphere," said the Stoke boss.

"It started before my time I would suggest. It's an incredible atmosphere inside the stadium for matches like this and it takes a good team to deal with it.

"For the most part Arsenal are an outstanding team but in recent times we've done very well. The help we've had from our crowd has been part of that. It's a huge part when you're trying to get positive results. I enjoy coming up against them and I am sure the lads do, too.

"We are performing well at the moment – we just aren't converting our chances when they come along. From my experience in the game, these runs can't keep on going.

"If we play as well as we have done recently then we will soon start to win matches in a convincing manner, I am certain of that."

After losing their last home match to Burnley, Stoke have suffered narrow losses on the road against Liverpool and Manchester United, leaving them only three points above the relegation zone.

Hughes has made evolving Stoke's style of play a priority since replacing Pulis prior to last season but insists Arsenal should not expect an easier time of it.

"Over the years we've made it difficult for Arsenal to play their game," he said. "We're a different team now but we can still compete. After going up against Liverpool and Manchester United, we certainly won't fear Arsenal."

Wenger has endured a difficult start to the season, with calls from some fans for his long tenure to be brought to an end, although Arsenal have won their last three games.

Hughes said: "I think most respect the job he's done. He won a trophy last year. In football, sometimes familiarity brings contempt. Maybe some people want a change for change's sake. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for."

Hughes has plenty of injury problems to deal with but is hoping one or two players could be back, with Jonathan Walters and Robert Huth the most likely contenders.

"It is undoubtedly the worst run of injuries that I have had during my time at the club and, when you consider the fact that we have had a bout of illness going around the place too, we have been unfortunate," said Hughes.

"Stephen Ireland has picked a bit of illness up disappointingly, because we thought we had seen the last of that."

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  1. Cody

    December 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I wonder if they will boo aaron ramsey and taunt him for the broken leg again?

    • Iancransonsknees

      December 6, 2014 at 1:28 am

      Only if Aaron Ramsey acts like a sarcastic prick again.

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