Wenger out to banish bad Stoke memories

Arsene Wenger has called for full focus as title-chasing Arsenal seek to avoid another slip-up at Stoke City this weekend.

The Britannia Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for Wenger, who has overseen only one win in five Premier League trips to Stoke.

However, the Frenchman is hopeful his side can claim three points this weekend as they look to stay close to leaders Chelsea.

"Stoke is a big game for us," Wenger said on Thursday. "We have to focus on our results because we are in a period where we have to push on.

"We've had two days off and sometimes it's not only physical but mental tiredness (that players need to recover from).

"We had some bad memories from Stoke but we had some good memories as well - it's just down to our performance of the day.

"Stoke always had good players. Let's not forget they qualified for the Europa League (in 2011).

"I honestly think the Premier League is the most difficult in the world because it's the only league that has good teams from one to 20.

"(Stoke manager) Mark Hughes has a big experience in the Premier League and has shown he can do well."

Wenger confirmed that Mesut Ozil will be involved at Stoke after missing the game at Sunderland that followed his penalty miss against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

Thomas Vermaelen could be asked to fill in at left-back should Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs be ruled out.

Wenger added: "Vermaelen and Ozil are back in the squad, (but) we have doubts over Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs.

"Ozil had a difficult game (against Bayern) and sometimes it's good to refresh when you are under pressure."