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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


Everton legend Graeme Sharp says Mikel Arteta is now the 'main man' for Arsenal.

Sharp will be providing live commentary of the game later as well as taking calls after the game in the Radio City Sport phone-in.

And he revealed before the game his belief that the former Everton midfielder has grown into his role with the Gunners.
"I always look forward to matches against Arsenal," said Sharp. "Our record in the last couple of seasons hasn't been good but we've always given them a game and they've generally been tight.
"They've had a bit of a mixed bag this season but on their day they are potentially as good as anyone. Lukas Podolski has settled well and so has Santi Corzola but for me, Mikel is their main man.
"He's emerged as a bit of a leader for them this season and Arsene Wenger, I am sure, views him as a very important member of his team. Mikel will get a good reception from our fans tonight, and quite rightly so, but we'll have to keep an eye on him because he's in good form just now."

Everton have progressed greatly since the Spaniard's departure and have seen the elation of a great start to this season tempered slightly by a frustrating throng of drawn games - not least on Saturday.
"The manager must have been tearing his hair out again after Saturday's result against Norwich," continued Sharpy. "All a manager can do is set up his team to play well and try and win the game and to get so close to doing that only to be denied at the death is so frustrating.
"He was honest enough to admit that we didn't play well in the second half but we certainly did in the first and we should have been home and dry by half-time. But as long as we are creating chances, we'll be fine in the long run. In fact one of these days, someone will get a hiding from us! Whether that will be Arsenal tonight, I'm not so sure but there's no need for any despondency as far as I am concerned.
"Yes, it's disappointing to be drawing so many games but there are a number of clubs in the Premier League who would say that. I was looking forward to seeing two good games last Sunday but Swansea-Liverpool and Chelsea-Manchester City both ended 0-0 and neither game inspired me.
"It's all about hanging in there and if we are in and around the top six after the tough run of fixtures that we've got coming up then I am sure we'll all be satisfied and we can push on then into the new year."

Listen to Sharpy and Alan Irwin on City Talk 105.9 from 7pm and stay tuned for the phone-in straight after the game.

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