Arsenal’s inability to prevail over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium has long since passed through the realms of cliché into universal-acknowledged metaphor for an inability to knuckle down and get the job done.
Despite this it remains absolutely relevant, with the Potters’ 3-2 home victory in December their second in succession over Arsene Wenger’s side.
The blood and thunder Britannia boys – and the footballing public in general – take great, sneering pleasure in maintaining their hold over Wenger’s willowy creatives.
All the time the Potters’ woeful record in the Gunners’ north London backyard continues to go unquestioned.
It turns out that while they can do it on a wet Tuesday night on home turf, they tend to melt in the more mild surroundings of England’s most expensive-to-attend new-build stadium.
That’s why Arsenal are as short as 9/20 to prevail against their supposed bête-noires, despite losing to Southampton in demoralising fashion in their last top-flight outing.
Stoke, meanwhile, are a hefty 13/2 for victory and 18/5 to share the spoils.
Either result would represent the first time they have avoided defeat against Arsenal in London since their Premier League arrival in 2008/09, at the seventh time of asking.
Not once during that sequence have they managed to register more than a goal’s worth of resistance.
Each of the three times they have found the net, Arsenal have gone on to win by two clear goals, suggesting attempts to duke it out with the Gunners have proven ill-advised.
Mark Hughes’ men may have recorded away wins against Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton this term, but the latter two were woefully out of form at those junctures and the midlanders have now lost four of their last seven on the road.
Arsenal will be looking for their sixth successive home triumph when the Potters arrive for Sunday lunch.