Stoke City manager Mark Hughes feels Arsenal have been the only top team in the Premier League to live up to expectations this season.
Arsene Wenger’s men sit top of the table on goal difference from Leicester City after 21 games, and Hughes believes his side are in for a tough test when Arsenal visit the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.
“Arsenal are top on merit and of all of the top teams in the league this season they are the ones who are actually playing like a top, top team,” Hughes said at his pre-match media conference on Friday.
“To be perfectly honest the rest have slipped away a little bit and have been uncharacteristic in terms of what you would expect from them.
“Arsenal have done really well though, gone about their business superbly and are playing some fantastic stuff at the moment. You sense that they see a real opportunity this year, so we are under no illusions as to how difficult the game will be for us on Sunday.”
Stoke have a strong record at home against Arsenal, though, and Hughes is optimistic about his side’s chances of getting a good result.
“We always tend to do well against them at home, the atmosphere is always special – a real crackle to the crowd – and we seem to relish that,” he added.
“We have a good record against them at home, and I am convinced that if we can play to the levels that we are capable of, then we can enjoy another productive afternoon this time round.”