Stoke City v Arsenal

Pulis feels no extra pressure for Arsenal

August 24, 2012
By David Instone

Stoke boss Tony Pulis is relishing the arrival of Arsenal as the first big-name visitors of the season to the Britannia Stadium - but says he is no more anxious than he was at Reading last weekend.

Arsenal v Stoke
PA PhotosStoke City and Arsenal have produced some fiery encounters in recent years

• Huddlestone set for Potters move

Pulis' side have developed a reputation for bloodying the noses of the top clubs in recent years, especially in the Potteries.

This fixture also has well-publicised history from the broken leg Aaron Ramsey suffered in a challenge with Ryan Shawcross in February 2010.

But the manager has played down the threat Arsenal will pose in the televised Sunday lunchtime clash.

"I was more concerned at playing a promoted side - they are very dangerous when it's all fresh and new and their supporters are right with them," Pulis said.

"Arsenal are obviously difficult. They have great players and we know it will be hard. It's one of the great fixtures for us. They are one of the top clubs in the world but our fans are always at their best when we are underdogs and that's what we are in this game.

"We mustn't get complacent. We have to ignore the nonsense from people who build you up and then shoot you down. We've had four great seasons in the Premier League, with four major cup quarter-finals and a final.

"Nobody could have dreamed that we would achieve what we have in such a short period. Now we have to start again and prove we are good enough to stay in the Premier League.

"We must remain grounded and focused on what is a massive challenge for us again."

Pulis stopped short of describing Arsenal as potential Premier League champions, adding: "Winning the title is different but they'll be up there."

The Welshman, who was due to learn later today whether Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone's medical had gone well enough for him to move to the Potteries on a season's loan, is more concerned with how his own club are progressing - on the pitch and off it.

"We're playing catch-up and have developed this training ground as well as the stadium. We can say now we're a Premier club behind the scenes as well."

Stoke are also waiting to see whether new signing Geoff Cameron can play any part on Sunday; the American international had to return home after playing for his country in Mexico and was ruled out of the opening weekend by visa issues.