Arsenal are making a traditional late-season charge in a bid to seal a top-four finish, with this fourth win in their last five league games lifting Wenger's side above Manchester United and into fifth place.
Stoke on the other hand have little to play for, with their Premier league life retained for another season, although they could still push for a finish inside the top 10, with a finish as high as eighth, or as low as 16th still possible.
But Wenger dismissed suggestions that it showed extra character on the part of a team that has been accused of lacking that vital quality. That support always helps, we know that, and it's important for us to play well in order to deserve any plaudits we get - that is certainly our intention.
"We have been through a bad patch but we stuck together when we were suffering and I have never questioned the character of my side", he said. Arsene Wenger's side will also hope to reel in Liverpool, who have 70 points from 36. Well, they get their last chance this weekend when Arsenal come to town for what is a big game for both teams. "It's hard for me at the moment, it's between Welbeck and Giroud". He went through a hard period when he came back from his ankle injury, but I never questioned his attitude.
Wenger confirmed Hector Bellerin will replace Oxlade-Chamberlain if the England man is not fit to travel to Stoke and praised the Spain international's mentality after he was recently jeered by Gunners fans following a gutless defeat at Crystal Palace last month. The FA Cup is Wenger's only shot at a trophy this season. "It was tight, but it was not a knife".
"It was more fatigue, but it's hard to assess so close".
"We can not find the good clinical edge", said the beaten Saints manager Claude Puel.
Having previously taken two points from a possible 24 in away games against current top-half teams, victory was a welcome tonic. "Opportunities, chances, good play, but no clinical edge". One moment, when the forward instinctively swivelled to flick the ball into the path of the onrushing Ozil, was probably the Gunners' best piece of attacking interplay in the first half, although the Germany star was denied by a fine last-ditch tackle from the youngster Stephens.