Written by oz gunner
How they lined up:
Arsenal (4-4-3)- Szczesny, Djourou, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Song ©, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Chamakh.
Subs: Fabianski, Frimpong, Rosicky, Benayoun, Arshavin, Park, van Persie.
Stoke (4-5-1): Begovic, Wilkingson, Shawcross ©, Upson, Wilson, Whitehead, Whelan, Delap, Ethrington, Walters, Crouch.
Subs: Sorenson, Huth, Shotton, Diao, Palacios (ex-scum), Jerome, Jones
Pennant failed to come up thankfully as he normally creates problems for us
RVP needed the rest, so I’m glad to see MC lining up against the orcs (hopefully he can create room for Walcott and Gerv to work in).
Walcott needs to step up. He can’t fall behind the ‘youngster’ tag anymore, it’s time to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Gerv needs to start hitting the target.
I’m glad Crouch and Upson are starting because I feel they are a lot less dangerous than Huth and Jones.
I’d like to see Arshavin come off the bench and deliver another great cameo.
I’d like to see a great defensive display against one of the most dangerous set dead ball teams in the league.
Lastly, no more injuries.
How it happened:
5’ Djourou sends in a poor cross (used up his good one in the CL).
6’ Ramsey picks out a great run by Walcott, however it’s just over hit.
9’ Corner sent in to a free MC…GREAT chance squandered. No pace or direction in the header really should of done better (that’s 2 goals in 31 matches for MC).
11’ Ambitious pot shot by Walters…fizzes wide. Song caught out in position but recovered well. Shot from distance by Arteta pulled wide.
12’ Crowd relatively quiet.
15’ Another great ball by Ramsey. Too hard for Gerv to control.
16’ Still no set piece for Stoke or Delap throw in.
17’ Spoke to soon. Boooooooooooo! BFG sorts out the danger.
19’ Great bit of skill by Theo (he needs to play to his strengths more often we’d all agree). Good cross, just a touch to high. Whitehead puts in a lousy slide on Arteta.
21’ Stoke are sitting deep and tight, it’s hard to get our passing game going.
22’ Arteta’s free kick spills to Gerv who tees up Ramsey who fires in a shot…just wide.
23’ Free kick to Stoke (Arsenal have conceded 5 goals from free kicks this season). Djourou headers clear.
26’ Hard to break down a well drilled Stoke team, conversely they are finding it tough getting forward.
27’ Ramsey chips a beautiful ball over the Stoke defenders, Gerv controls well with his chest and slots the ball under Begovic…GOAL!!! First goal at home for Gerv, Ramsey has been great.
28’ Fouls: Stoke 6, Arsenal 0
30’ Whitehead YELLOW CARD after another shocking slide tackle that just missed Arteta.
31’ Gerv great burst of pace, and a beautiful low cross, unfortunately no-one is there for the tap in.
33’ Stoke are playing very compact. Shawcross has the ball and Boooooo’s rain throughout Emirates and my living room.
34’ Stoke get a free kick after great and fair Kozza header (funny how Crouch rides over people all the time, yet when he’s on the receiving end he gets the foul. Ball sent wide to an unmarked Shawcross who headers the ball to Walters, ball headed to Crouch who taps it into an empty net. GOAL. Well thought out set piece by Stoke, Gerv should have done better.
35’ Wilkinson wrestles MC to the ground (Hulk Hogan-esque). How is that not a penalty? Very unlucky there!
38’ Delap throw #2. Ball ricochet’s around the box -> Corner
39’ Walters stop whinging.
40’ Arsenal have dropped off a little since we scored, half time can’t come soon enough.
43’ Delap throw #3…come on hurry up get on top of it ref! Handled well but out for throw #4 which comes back out to Delap who sends in an abysmal cross (shows just how one dimensional he really is, the rest of his game is poor).
44’ Great defending by Kozza who gets Gerv out of dodge.
46’ Arteta keeps it in well, great cross. MC misses it somehow and goes out via Upson.
47’ Wild shot from distance by Gerv, to no avail.
Half time mullings:
A great start by Arsenal but we dropped off again after we scored. They are playing tight and defending well but because of it they are not creating much themselves.
MC we really need you to pull your finger out, yes your endeavour is there but as our second choice striker we need more out of you!
Bugger Chelsea away next week. If we play like we need against them last year we will be fine (oh how I miss that game. The full field press was amazing. Kozza will pocket Torres easy).
Gerv and Ramsey have played well.
Alarm set: 7 hours to work…mmm sick day?!
Second Half under way
46’ Poor effort from Walters, hit and hope if anything.
48’ Great ball through to Walcott, deflection, corner. Corner comes in and Kozza attempts a bicycle kick (love this kid).
49’ Cross sent in by Theo…ends up in row Z.
53’ Djourou sets up Theo to get flattened. Definently tell he is a CB playing at RB.
54’ RVP is warming up. How long before we see him? YELLOW CARD Wilkingson for holding Theo.
56’ Sixth corner for Arsenal. Orcs start falling over each other. Walters down after a tangle with Upson. Get up Walters two minutes have been wasted. Stoke appear to be playing for a draw. Stoke reconsider their sub.
59’ Whitehead is up there with Lescott in terms of ugliness.
60’ Song good hit on Crouch. Delap->off Diao <- on. Well done Delap you have proved further just how pathetic of a footballer you are!
60’ Crowd chanting for RVP, only a matter of time you’d think as MC’s only contribution this half was a header to Crouch.
62’ Good build up play, bad pass by Song, crowd are getting restless. Kozza is playing great again. Unsure if these performances by Walcott can carry on. It’s surely only a matter of time before we see the Ox take his spot in the starting line-up.
65’ Stoke sitting very narrow and tight, Crouch still isolated. RVP is getting ready to come on. The crowd is shouting their love (please sign a new contract RVP… pretty please).
66’ MC->off RVP<- on. MC was less than inspiring, guilty of wasting two great chances.
67’ Beautiful play by RVP, cross just too high for Kozza. Worlds #1 cheekily takes on Walters. Commentators condemning him saying he is naïve and has often made mistakes this season. Pretty harsh I think!
68’ Shawcross the sook forearms RVP in the head…no free kick given.
70’ Great pass by Song, RVP lays off to…no one.
71’ Theo->off AA<- on. Hopefully another great cameo is on the cards.
72’ RVP’s cross splits the lot of them. We are controlling the game easily. BFG needs to assert himself better during our set pieces.
74’ Ethrington + Crouch-> off Jones + Jerome<- on
76’ Gerv is looking great down the right hand side.
77’ Jones free header, Jerome goes for it but clatters into the World #1 (he’s not impressed by it). Nervous last 15 minutes coming up.
78’ Santos warned- Cool heads needed here. We don’t need to give away stupid free kicks this late into the game, especially not when Jones is on.
79’ Great piece of defending by Arshavin.
82’ Great pass by Arshavin finding Gerv’s run, he cuts back to RVP who taps it in GOAL!!! Begovic poor attempt at a save. 6 goals in 5 matches for RVP against Stoke.
84’ Two great defensive efforts by Santos. Great block by Kozza who was 1-on-1 with Jones.
87’ Arsenal is making a mockery of Stoke at the moment, passing it around like it’s a training drill. Stoke cannot get near the ball.
90’ RVP threads it through to Gerv, Begovic saves from a tight angle.
91’ Gerv-> off Pong<- on
Arsenal control the rest of the game with great movement and passing. They can walk off the pitch with their heads held high after that one! The second half was all Arsenal.
Worlds #1 6.5. Had little to do, but was consistent when called into action.
Djourou 6. Offered little going forward but did the job asked of him well. His extra height was needed against the Orcs.
BFG 6.5. Consistent, keeps getting better each game.
Kozza 7.5. Stand out performer in defence and is becoming one of the best defenders in the league at the moment. Love how he goes about his game. One on one he is a star, and controls the air well. Crouch had nothing all game
Santos 6.5. Like BFG he is getting better as each game passes. Offers more attacking wise but is no mug defensively. Will be a great purchase once he settles in and lifts his cardio.
Song 7 You know what you get from Song, and he played well again today against Stoke. Stuck to his role well and allowed Arteta and Ramsey to go about their business. Hard to think this is the same Song who went out on loan to Charlton all those seasons ago.
Arteta 6.5. Started every Premier League game for Arsenal this season. Delivered another good performance both offensively and defensively, unfortunately will allows be compared to Cesc.
Ramsey 7.5. Amazing game from young Ramsey. Cesc-like passes (especially the assist to Gerv), great work rate and dangerous shooting. He is going to be an Arsenal legend no doubt about it. Glad Shawcross has not ruined the great career he will have,
Gerv 8. Man of the Match for me. Showed Theo how it’s done with great drive and low crosses. When RVP came on he lifted immensely. Great control and finish from Ramsey’s pass, and two good assists. Another Arsene steal considering his price.
MC 5. Endeavour is there, just not his finishing. As though he’s scared to shoot with his feet. Wasted two great opportunities. Fans are losing patience with him, me included. Hopefully he snaps out of it though, I want him to succeed at Arsenal
Theo 5. Good in patches. However those patches were few and far between. He NEEDS to deliver more, and his high crosses are a waste especially when playing a team like Stoke. Ox is breathing down his neck.
RvP 8. Amazing cameo, the fans got what they asked for and he showed just why we love him so much. Two goals thanks to good positioning and passing by Gerv. We need him to stay he is World Class and a great captain.
Arshavin 6.5. Good little cameo again. This might be how we get the best out of him for the remainder of his time at Arsenal.
Ref 4. Didn’t get on top of the time wasting, missed a penalty and was pretty much poor all game.
The game was nerve racking for a moment there but we controlled it for the full 90 minutes. This team is getting better and better each game and looks very determined to give their all for the cause. I’m loving it, come on you mighty Gunners. Well played. Next up Chelsea.