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Vermaelen: Arsenal must be up for the fight

Arsenal have lost three of their last four trips to the Britannia Stadium, and the ground has never been favoured by Arsene Wenger's side since the Potters' promotion to the top flight in 2008.

"It is always a hard game when we go there, you know it is going to be a battle," Vermaelen told Arsenal's official website.

"If there is a battle, sometimes you have to fight back. But the main thing is to play our own game, with quick passing. That is the way to score."

The Belgian defender also highlighted that Arsenal must focus at both ends of the pitch, adding: "The main thing is to keep to our own game and score a lot of goals.

"We always want to defend well as a team, we have to do that on Saturday. It won't be easy, and we have to be focused on set pieces."

Abou Diaby could return to the Gunners' side for the clash that will always be remembered for Aaron Ramsey's horror injury two years ago.

Stoke need only three points to make sure of their safety for another year, while Arsenal will have their thoughts fully focused on third spot after it was revealed that fourth place will not mean qualification for the Champions League if Chelsea win the tournament.

By Tom Bennett