Let’s Talk Orc …

Firstly, congratulations to Stoke for improving upon their average goal tally at Reading. They scored one whereas last season they managed less than one goal a game, scoring 36 goals in 38 games. And guess what – the majority were from set plays (58% !!)

I must confess to liking Tony Pulis as a man, he is passionate, committed and honest (though deluded!) but I hate his tactics; I realise he has limited resources but that is no excuse to play the worst type of anti-football. Norwich, Swansea, Wigan etc show it is possible to stay in the PL on a limited budget without resorting to Route One physical football. Hopefully, the signing of Fatboy Huddlestone indicates a change of direction.

Ryan & Robert

Some have expressed an opinion that we should be more accommodating and friendly towards Stoke and in a logical world I can empathise with this – but – addiction to Arsenal is totally illogical, as is the amount of time we spend discussing it! Fact: Football is tribal. Fact: One of my tribe was hurt by one of Stoke’s and there was no apology forthcoming. Fact: Stoke play a physical game designed to curtail the skills, pace, cohesion and equanimity of my warriors. Fact: Stoke fans hate us and Ramsey in particular. Fact: Rivalry in sport is what makes it so damned compulsive.

So, I make no apology when calling Stoke “The Orcs,” nor when belittling their admittedly well run club. Yes, Stoke play with heart and commitment and generally within the rules of the game but “so what”. I don’t like them – not since we went down 5-0 in the first Double season (the pain was worse than MU last year). Bury the hatchet? Why? Why now? Should we reflect kindly upon our miscreant, cave-dwelling, knuckle-dragging neighbours? Of course not. No, the Stoke game has an emotional element which did not exist a few seasons ago when a trip to Stoke was just another hurdle on the way to the title; long may the rivalry continue.

Right …. off the soapbox and onto the game. Stoke have a superb home record against the top clubs (losing only to Newcastle of the top 6 last season). We came away with an admirable draw despite wearing last season’s awful away kit. Today, we premier our lovely purple outfit – not sure it is proper Arsenal but at least our players no longer look as if they are in Cirque du Soleil (though I suspect Bob Wilson would not be impressed by Chesney’s pink ensemble).

We know all about the excellence of Stoke’s twin Orcs at CB. I wonder if Pod and Giroud will have ever come across two such “committed” players. Thankfully, the little scrote Whitehead was sent off last week and will be absent. Mr Crouch has a penchant for goals against The Mighty Arsenal and our best bet has to be to stop his supply, but can Corporal Jenks or Young Gibbsy control a wily and pacy player like Etherington – we shall see. And please Mr Wenger put a player in front of Crouch at set plays with  BFG marking him.

Will we play O-C or continue with the fit Diaby? Gerv or Theo or both? Pod or OG? Gibbs or Santos?

My team:

I really worry about our right side because Diaby has never shown himself to be strong defensively and Jenks will need cover. The connection between him and Theo needs much work. However, we will need Diaby’s height at set plays – an area where Sagna will be much missed. For this reason I would also play Giroud. Podolski may not be fully match fit but 70 mins pitch time will sharpen him plus playing The Orcs will give the new boys an important lesson in the leniency of EPL refereeing. Lee Mason has the whistle today.

Rocky’s excellent post about the forced expansion of Stoke’s pitch and it’s effect upon the long throw tactic will be highlighted today. Will a referee ever add extra time for the “towel”?

Expect to see the Orc fans doing the Wenger Wave which passes for humour in a town where there is very little to laugh about – let’s face it, if you were forced to live in Mordor  wouldn’t you want to take the rise out of a multi-millionaire, successful, intelligent foreigner?

Can we win? It will be difficult, as Stoke’s home record suggests. With the wind at our backs, a little luck, a secure defence and potency upfront – why not?

Some facial graffiti  …… a world record beard measured at 18* 6″ (5.65m) owned by a Norwegian.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

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218 Responses to Let’s Talk Orc …

  1. goonermichael says:

    Mannone’s in goal, Confirmed apparently. I hate pulis

  2. goonermichael says:

    That beard is impressive. Looks horrible though

  3. FIRST!!!!

    Good post Big Raddy.
    However, I’m going to be a tad controversial…

    My personal lineup for this game is also what I think Wenger will choose also. Identical to yours, bar one.
    The contoversial bit?
    Coquelin to start. He’ll be in Diaby’s position on your team lineup.

    Yes, I know he’s young and relatively inexperienced…
    He will be the Defensive Midfielder. Arteta alongside as Holding/Creative Midfielder, Carloza as Creative/Attacking Midfielder.

    I haven’t seen ANYONE on ANY site suggesting this, other than myself.

    Like your name, liked the player.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Not good news at all.

  5. kelsey says:

    Mannone in goal !!! is he related to Fullop. help.

  6. goonermichael says:

    Brilliant as usual Raddy.

  7. goonermichael says:
  8. Rasp says:

    Morning all, great PM Raddy. I cannot share your admiration of Pulis, I think his teams and their style of football reflect the man.

    The booing of Ramsey by the Stoke fans is one of the most despicable acts in football – can anyone explain to me why they do it?

    I’m glad Mannone is playing instead of Fab2, I prefer him as a keeper, he has bigger balls.

  9. To all you early birds a QUESTION…
    What is happening/happened re Mannone’s transfer to Hull City?
    I think he’s cr@p by the way.

  10. Dick Swiveller says:

    I’m mostly with you there, Big Al. I’d start the Coq in the middle but WITH Diaby and Arteta, shunting Cazorla out right where he can use his intelligence and tekkers to help out Jenkinson who could get a little overwhelmed by the horde, also giving us a little more bite and tenacity in the middle. We also have Theo to run at tired legs in the 2nd half this way.

  11. oz gunner says:

    Great pre-match ratty, not enough stick given to stoke though (they deserve more). Like the look up of the line-up, gives us some strength in the air with Giroud and Diaby.

    I really really really hate playing stoke. They are anti-football and I have to close my eyes whenever they get a throw/free-kick/corner. The amount of lumbering forward they do in a game extra time should be 10+ minutes.

    @ GiE

    very interesting in regards to salaries, I’ve heard it’s a bit like that over there.

    @ RA

    you are right, but as a student I demand cheapness/more government money!

    I just want to live the Big Ratty dream!

  12. Dick Swiveller says:

    Thought I read that Fabianski was on the bench and Martinez had travelled with the squad just in case Szczesny didn’t recover, doesn’t really tally with Mannone starting, I’ll remain optimistic that Mannone won’t be playing till proven otherwise, just to help easy my nerves a little…

  13. @Dick Swiveller
    Yeah… that wouldn’t be a bad lineup at all. Slightly prefer mine though, if only by 1%.

  14. stokey john says:

    arsenal sell there best players bring in second rate players and you still pay them £1000 per seanon ticket your mugs mate

  15. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Morning all, Fantastic pre-match B raddy. Its got me all pumped for the game. I hope just like yourself we play with the prince tucked in behind/to the left of Giroo, it will be a lethal combo and suprise many. It worked similarly early last season for van der fart and aderbarndoor and when you compare those two to ours i believe our untried combo will shine big time, hopefully starting today!

    Re Poldi, im concerned about his match fitness and have noticed he is a little on the tubby side for his standards but i guarantee if hes not 100% today, he will be rip roaring ready to go when he comes up against his old mate Nuri Sahin at pool ;-)

    Poldi will still contribute in todays game but he is far from his best. I believe plenty underrate him but i believe Giroo could be a key as to whether poldi finishes the season our top scorer and on that note really like your line up.

    Just imagine, Sagna in for Jenks, Wilshere for Diaby and Ox can thumb wrestle Theo for that position on the right..Now thats mouth watering..

    Actually, it might be worth a tenner for OL BIG EARS ;-)

    COYRRG

    Purple Reign Baby!!!

  16. Dick Swiveller says:

    Everyone has the prettiest wife at home, Big Al. :)

  17. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Does a team reflect the man? Interesting and very likely true. Would make a good post.

  18. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    @OZ, did you catch that imposter yet? and bad luck on freo, cant stand em, and the result was unexpected on form.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    stokey john- Welcome to AA. Can you explain upon what you base your second rate observation?

  20. goonermichael says:

    Stokey John. Whatever you pay it’s 90% too much for that shit

  21. Rasp says:

    Morning Raddy, I believe it does. He chooses the players, oversees the training, devises the tactics etc etc. You only have to look at the contrasting personalities of SAG and AW and the way their teams play to see that it is at least in part a truism.

    Pulis has not condemned his supporters’ continued attacks on Ramsey as far as I know … that is disgraceful

  22. oz gunner says:

    @ PPP

    sound like some brilliant changes to me!
    haha unfortunately no, I don’t care if he was talking sense but he was spouting the LG special kind of nonsense.

    I agree, lu lu lu…lukas podolski and giroud could form quite the dominant partnership if they settle in quickly. Looking forward to it that’s for sure.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I recall Pulis being scathing about the fans response to Aaron. Just as SAF has been about AW’s treatment at OT.

  24. Slimgingergooner says:

    The only change I would make is Ox wide right of he’s fit. Theo is too lightweight for these games. Bring him and Gervinho on second half.

  25. oz gunner says:

    @ PPP

    in terms of north…gutted. hate that mob

  26. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thank you Raddy.
    Agreeing, yet again, with Slim.
    Quite apart from the fact that Ox is better in every single way than Theo, and I would prefer him central, I do see the point in playing Diaby, so Ox has to go out right.

  27. Red Arse says:

    Nice Post, Big Ratty, :-)

    I was interested in and agreed with most of the content.

    However, I find myself agreeing with the Rasper — not, I hasten to say, regarding the relative size of the genitalia of our G Keepers — but in his view about Pulis.
    The thought that springs to mind, given I don’t know him personally either to like or dislike, is that his utterances are always sour. Yes that’s the word “sour”.

    In addition Rasp is correct that the teams he puts out and their style of play, together with their negative mind set reeks of his sour outlook. :-(

    The other 99.999% of your Post, as I said above, was spot on! :-)

  28. Phil says:

    Should have used a picture of the Oblivion Orcs rather than the Morrowind one we have here. Having said that, great post!.

  29. ClockEndRider says:

    StokeyJohn,
    Is the any truth in the rumour that Stoke is twinned with Royston Vasey? The only time I went there it was full of six fingered web toed throwbacks.

  30. evonne says:

    wonder what GiE thinks of Tony Pullis :)

    Great post Raddy, gross beard, it probably smells with all the mites nested inside it

    Mononne? oh dear, where is Fabianski?

  31. Herbiepotter says:

    Morning all. As a Stoke fan I just want to comment on a few things. I agree that tribalism is to a degree what makes football so good, as are contrasts between opposing styles. Ours is not always good to watch but can be effective. Yours is very good to watch but not always effective. It’s about contrasts.

    The one thing that upsets me is the way we are lambasted for abusig Ramsey. Please let me put my views. The viewing of one or two when Ramaey was carried off injured was wrong and the cast majority of Stokies applauded him off. Those who did boo him were told in no uncertain terms of the error of their ways. Shawcross apologised to Ramsey straight away but the apology was not accepted. Whatever else this is where the incident should have ended and we should all have concentrated on getting Ramsey playing again, not trying to get Shawcross banned for life (yes Mr. Wenger I am talking about you). Unfortunately the incident won’t go away and this brings me to last year. The whole booing thing is getting out of hand. During the game there was a stoppage (can’t remember why) and Arsenal fans started to call Shawcross a w!&@er. As you correctly pointed out football is tribal so we started singing Ryan’s name. At this point Ramaey turned to the Arsenal fans, applauded and encouraged them to sing louder. Like it or not this makes him fair game for booing and I’m sure the same would be true in reverse. That is why we booed him last year – no more no less. BOTH sides need to let the incident drop and concentrate on a healthy rivalry!

    All the best for the season after today, enjoy your visit to the potteries I’d you are coming and hopefully we will have many more battles through the years.

    Hopefully you will take this for what it is, an honest viewpoint from a reasonable person, but I’ve got my tin hat on in case.

    Up the Potters!

  32. Rasp says:

    Hi Herbie, thanks for giving the potter’s view on the Shawcross/Ramsey saga. I’m sure you are not one who booed Ramsey but you cannot deny that there is still a culture in some clubs that resents technical ability they do not possess and see the use of what is commonly called anti-football as the only answer. As Raddy says in the post, the likes of WBA, Wigan and Swansea have similar budgets to your own and yet have achieved success and entertained the paying public whilst playing more cultured football.

  33. 26may1989 says:

    Morning, and Raddy thanks for the intro.

    Re selection, I’d like to see Giroud and Podolski start today, this oppo would suit their greater physicality. Ox or Walcott to start? Don’t mind, it’ll be just as important to have a strong impact sub as a good name in the first XI. Perfect game for the BFG, he should be able to negate his doppelganger, Peter Crouch.

    Re Stoke, it’s misleading to talk of their limited resources: they have consistently spent heavily over the last five years or so, and last summer were one of the highest spenders in the league. They have massively outspent us. Given the expenditure, the fact they finished 14th last season shows that they were failures last year. I’ve heard more than a few Stoke fans ask whether Pulis has taken them as far as he can. And while I detest most of what they are about, there is quality in their squad (Begovic, Etherington, Crouch etc) – the question for them is whether they have the manager to make the best of it. I would put Pulis’s name down as a dark horse in the earliest sacking stakes.

    Still, they’ll be up for us, and we may arrive in a fragile state today. Much depends on the psychology in our team: if they’re up for it, our players could do well and could kick-start our season. But there’s plenty to worry about.

    @ClockEndRider: Royston Vasey – perfect! :)

  34. 123 says:

    Can’t wait to see how Poldi/OG fare this game. On a side note, it seems Wenger is interested in Tiote from Newcastle and is willing to bid around 15M for him. Will be interesting to see how this turns out as Tiote is a fairly sturdy and reliable DM in the PL imo. Unfortunately I doubt Newcastle will pull an Arsenal and let one of their most reliable midfielders go for anywhere near the price of 15M, considering they only let Caroll go at 35M.

  35. 26may1989 says:

    Don’t agree with everything Herbiepotter says in terms of the facts, but respect to him for putting the points without glossing over some of the more obnoxious behaviour amongst his fellow Stoke fans and for putting his case in an even-handed way.

  36. Herbiepotter says:

    Hi Rasp. Yes there are elements everywhere which are envious but the majority aren’t like that. The players who get booed are more likely to be booed for a reason other than their technical ability. Does Suarez get booed at Old Trafford because he is technically good or because of the Evra incident?

    Yes there are different ways I playing and succeeding but wouldn’t it be dull if we all played the same way? Someone on sky said this morning if we all play like Barcelona then there is no Barcelona.

    Having said all that we are trying to play better football and at times we play some lovely stuff but it is unlikely we will see it today as we know how much Arsenal hate the high ball, so why shouldn’t we capitalise on that?

    As fans we all like to see our teams play nice football, even us Stokies. However good football does not guarantee the best entertainment. Some lower league hoofball games can be end to end and packed with incident, whereas some of the football Spain played in the Euros was dull beyond belief.

    Variety is the spice of life and all that. Off to the game now so will check back later. Enjoy the game, but hopefully not the result.

    Up the Potters.

  37. Red Arse says:

    Hi HerbieP,

    A very mature and reasonable summing up of the current situation.

    Things are often said in the heat of the moment that are not always meant, or even regretted. I am talking here about each of us personally, so it is no surprise when that is extended to the players and managers.

    My beef about things is that there wasn’t a peep out of Arsene Wenger about Stoke before today’s game, but up pops Pulis to call a press conference and open it all up again. You know the pathetic “Arsenal are dirtier than poor little misunderstood us”.

    Everyone knows that Arsenal have a penchant for small skillful players, while Stoke go in for rather large, cumbersome players, so Pulis bleating that a 5′ 6″ Arsenal midfielder (and most are that height) terrorizing a 6′ 4″ Stoke Orc is laughable.

    That aside, I have no antagonism towards Stoke fans, why should I, they are just supporting their team, like I support mine, and I don’t have a problem with Stoke as a team playing to their strengths — I just dislike the sour approach of Pulis, and the way he brings that sourness into the meeting between the teams, setting the fans and the players against each other.

    He probably sees that as ‘mind games’ as promoted by his mentor Ferguson and is a form of sucking up.

    I hope you understand I write this more in resignation than anger, because it is a shame the football is not allowed to speak for itself.

  38. Herbiepotter says:

    Hi Red Arse. I too felt a bit depressed when Pulis went to the press again, there was no need to drag it all up again. However it is not just Fergie and Pulis who are guilty of this. It is not too long since Wenger was calling us a rugby team in the run up to a game. You can’t deny that was an attempt to play mind games with the ref?

  39. Red Arse says:

    Maybe, Herbie, but it was history, and now here we go again.

    The Pulis tactic is like an argument when one party won’t shut up and that sometimes leads to violence.

    These managers must take responsibility and realise their inflammatory personal feuds can and do lead to violence between the fans where innocent people get hurt, and that is not acceptable.

    You work on Pulis at your end, Herbie, and we will have a word with Arsene!

    As if they would listen!!! :-)

  40. LB says:

    Top drawer pre-match BR

    For what it is worth I agree with your team selection and the reasons for it.

  41. ClockEndRider says:

    HP,
    Can only have been last season at the closest. In which case it’s at least 1 year, possibly more. I can’t remember. There has been no “again”in the case of Wenger. Talentless managers seeking to deflect attention from a pattern of play similar to rugby league in terms of kicking for distance then using line outs to batter their way over the try line and in so doing raising the same point season after season does not equate to Wenger repeating it. He simply answers questions brought up by journalists. A small point but one which undermines the argument more than somewhat.

  42. kelsey says:

    Arsenal team to face Stoke:

    Mannone Diaby Mertesacker Vermaelen Arteta Podolski Giroud Cazorla Jenkinson Gervinho Gibbs

  43. dandan says:

    SUBS: Martinez, Santos, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks Kelsey,
    Wow. Pod and Gerv. Interesting.
    Clearly I’m upset not to see Ox, but seriously excited nonetheless.

  45. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oooo, and thanks Dandan.

  46. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Micky, Ox could end up being a match winner..Everybody is expecting a fight and if the game gets tired and needs a breakthrough, id assume that both your boy Oxo and theo would assume their positions ;-)

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    PPP,
    I have to accept that both you and Arsene are right. Trouble is, I live inside a little fantasy bubble where the Ox and Santi tear them to shreds and we go two up in ten. Then, the muscle boys can come on :-)

  48. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    how anxious would you be in Mannones’ boots? Opportunity knocks once again, may be the last chance saloon?

  49. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Micky, that match day cant come soon enough and when it does i dont expect anybody to knock the young boy from the first 11. I strongly believe the Ox will cement his spot this season.. i love MATCH DAAY

  50. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Afternoon all, and many yhanks to Ratty.

    Great to see Giroo start today. Hat trick.

    Gone to find out who ref is.

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Shaaaaaarkey
    How nice to be sharing space with you. Hope you are well.

  52. MickyDidIt89 says:

    PPP
    Ox will be comfortably the best english player within a year.
    I believe Giroud could become a real star for The Gunners.

  53. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Enjoy the game Gooners, wherever you may be!!

    COYRRG

  54. LB says:

    Ummmmm, am I the first to ask where Walcott has gone or does no one care which, I accept, is a serious possibility.

  55. oz gunner says:

    game time, strap your hats on boys Stroke are bringing the bombs (santi won’t know whats going on), but we’ve got the cannons!

  56. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You too PPP

  57. LB says:

    Ahh, just noticed, he is on the bench.

  58. oz gunner says:

    @ LB

    a sub. I wouldn’t read to much into it, it’s logical and should be done against any bus. Gervinho and ox are far better dribblers of the ball

  59. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Micky, agreed. I believe having wiser heads around at Arsenal will help Ox a hell of alot.

    Prince poldi to the left of me, and Gerv to the right, here i am stuck in the middle Giroo, yes i am stuck in the middle Giroo :-)

  60. LB says:

    Oz

    Santi is not one of those roll over and act hurt kind of Spanish players, this one is a tough cookie and capable of dishing it out to boot.

  61. oz gunner says:

    @ LB

    also…Armstrong is not a cheat. Enough was enough

  62. LB says:

    OK show time.

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB,
    You were there last saturday!
    So the answer could be: as far from the right hand side as possible, therefore renderring his selection as utterly pointless.
    During my post match debriefing with Peaches, I, being nice, merely suggested he was trying to find some shade from the sun down the right!

  64. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Cheers Mickey. I’m quite confident today.

  65. LB says:

    Very polite Micky, I just thought he was crap.

  66. oz gunner says:

    @ LB

    I agree he definitely isn’t, just meant in terms of high balls constantly being sent in

  67. goonermichael says:

    I thought it was cesc that called stoke a rugby team

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB,
    You’ve trumped me again :-)

  69. goonermichael says:

    The ox’s dad seems a nice man

  70. goonermichael says:

    I’m going to go for a 4-1 win

  71. Illybongani says:

    Sorry but fear the worst today….Mannonononononoooo??? God help us, let’s just hope we outscore them

  72. goonermichael says:

    please no injuries.
    Why do they sing delilah

  73. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    2-1 late winner

    Purple reign! we are Royalty

  74. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Back half time

  75. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    pulis is a wanker

  76. Gooner In Exile says:

    BLOODY LEE MASON……ok I admit I just looked at BBC and saw he was refereeing, and I don’t know if he has done anything for or against us yet…..but he will.

  77. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    hopeless GiE, hes hopeless! bloddy Elmur Fudd

  78. rhyle says:

    Opposition now parking the bus in our away games, too…don’t blame ‘em but sweet MARY…this’ll make for a long season at times…

  79. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ve seen this movie before and I didn’t like the ending…………

  80. dandan says:

    Gibbs is getting back to his old form. Having a fine game

  81. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    id switch poldi on the right for 20 min..both the left back and Huth are on yellows..use it to our advantage and force a foul..geez

  82. oz gunner says:

    how good was that by poldi, attacked the ball aggressively and is using his directness really well

  83. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    watching stoke play is like going to the dentist… annoyingly painful

    coffee time

  84. kelsey says:

    Agree about gibbs having a fine game and in fact defensively as a unit looking OK.Gervinho is frustrtaing and Giroud hasn’t really got into the game.
    We need more shots,bring on the OX

  85. Big Raddy says:

    Mmmmm going pretty much to script except we are much stronger in the tackle than last season.

    Our new boys all playing very well as is Diaby

    No clear chances yet

    COYRRG

  86. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Oz, Diaby is hesitant and waits for the ball to come to him..i know its early for him but that is frustrating in his game..Song had a tendancy as well..grr

  87. goonermichael says:

    This looks a much stronger team. Giroud is good in the air and Cazorla is a tough bugger. The defence looks more solid. they are not bullying us. We obviously need to score though

  88. Rasp says:

    A good assured performance so far by Mannone, I think we have our decent 2nd choice GK. Diaby is off the pace and looking ponderous on the ball. He usually sharpens up the more games he gets so hopefully he’ll up it a notch in the 2nd half

  89. LB says:

    Crying out for the Ox.

  90. goonermichael says:

    Podolski is a battler too.

    The stoke fans are tossers

  91. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    @Rasp, snap!

  92. goonermichael says:

    LB
    What a great option on the bench though (Ox)

  93. RockyLives says:

    Great pre-match BR (as always).

    I’m pretty pleased with that half. We’re not being bullied, we are well organized defensively and we have looked threatening.

    Santi is an amazing player and is going to be our most important person this season. Also loving Arteta, Poldi and Giroud.

    Still, we’ll need to be 100% in the second half to get the points.

    Great to hear the away fans in such good voice too.

    COME ON ARSENAL!

  94. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If I were a Stoker, I’d be delighted Ox stays on the bench.

  95. evonne says:

    Illy – why would you worry about goalie?? We are playing Stoke, I could do the job

  96. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GM,
    Although utterly useless sitting on it.

  97. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Agree with all the comments on how much tougher we look. Just a little magic and we’ll win this.

  98. evonne says:

    I noticed a couple of long balls and long shots, hm, that’s interesting and welcomed from this Gunner

  99. goonermichael says:

    It’s better than having a bench of nobodies Micky

  100. Big Raddy says:

    Diaby may be slower than the others but he has been instrumental in breaking up Stoke’s midfield play and then passing short to Santi.He is plalying deeper than usual

    IMO he is having his best game for ages.

  101. Slimgingergooner says:

    Only thing I’m looking for today is a clean sheet. That was our downfall last year. Goals will come with Wilshere and Ox learning to play with Cazorla, Pod and Giroud. If we can become solid at the back then we will be a force. Fancy football and lots of attacking got our last lot nowhere, time to get the basics sorted and then the football will come.

  102. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Forgive me GM, I’ve been Ox’d :-)

  103. Big Raddy says:

    Gervinho has to learn to shoot.

  104. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    yes he does Raddy :-(

  105. Slimgingergooner says:

    Anyone noticed we gone to the old Arsenal, Bouldy flick on corner?

    We scored in Cologne with it but I thought it was just coincidence, but weve definately tried it a few times today!

  106. rhyle says:

    Gerv for the Ox…

  107. GunnerN5 says:

    Santi has gone quiet in this half.

  108. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    arteta clever

  109. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    thats a red sir!

  110. Slimgingergooner says:

    Ox left, Pod through middle and Theo right. See if we can play round them a bit more.

  111. rhyle says:

    Wilkinson to be sent off would open this up a bit…

    Ox & Walcott coming on…Gerv & Diaby?

  112. oz gunner says:

    Arteta nooooooooo!
    Would of taken Diaby off for Ox. Although poldi must be lacking a bit of match fitness

  113. rhyle says:

    Diaby…can’t make his mind up whether to breathe in or out…

  114. oz gunner says:

    well done stoke fans…classy w**kers

  115. rhyle says:

    What do they say about buses? When you need one…none about…when you don’t want one…two’ll turn up…

  116. oz gunner says:

    amazing how there were that many subs and stoke waste time/lumber forward and there is only 3 bloody minutes!

  117. rhyle says:

    Look @ that mug Pulis…grinning his moron head off like he’s actually accomplished something to be proud of…

  118. oz gunner says:

    over 30 seconds to kick the ball back in! god that drives me insane to see that BS again. Get a new timing system for christ sake!!!!

  119. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    ox pod and giroo start for me.. ox is special..real battler

  120. goonermichael says:

    Defensively we look a different team. Once we start scoring we’ll be fantastic

  121. oz gunner says:

    @ Rhyle

    what is it with balding gnomes who wear tracksuits! Two in a row is too much! smug jokers

  122. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Fucking insipid. Could’ve played for hours and not scored. I should not be bored watching my own team

  123. Slimgingergooner says:

    A clean sheet agai st Stoke tells us one thing, we are a very different outfit to the sides we’ve had in the last 7 years. Will see at the end of the 38 games if it was a good point, but the fact I’m pretty happy tells me it is!

  124. oz gunner says:

    well said GM, it definitely starts from the back, and at the moment we look rock solid

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m off to check out the fixture list. Just be nice to know in advance which are likely to be football matches :-(

  126. kelsey says:

    Defensively we were good but attack wise not much difference to the opening game. Maybe it will take time , and a bit more direct shooting practice.

  127. rhyle says:

    This is our season isn’t it? A point against us is seen as a bonus point – so teams’ll just shut up shop against us and hope to hit us on the break…my new punt this season is on less than 2.5 goals a game…lol…even under Graham I never celebrated a draw like it was a win…even when we came back from 2 down…

    Clearly something needs to be done on the training field…Shots ON target, please…

  128. oz gunner says:

    The signs are there attacking wise. Just unfortunate that we need Giroud and poldi to hit the ground running. Like what I saw from both. Next game I’d like to see Coquelin start for Diaby just to see a bit more urgency/afraid of putting too much time into Diaby’s legs

  129. RockyLives says:

    I feel very positive about that, mainly because of the way we looked so solid defensively. As Slim said earlier, get a tight defence and the rest will follow.

    There’s no point in being too critical about our lack of finishing. We must have created about 10 or 12 half chances. We had a bang-on penalty in the first 10 minutes not given (surprise surprise) – and this with an attacking line-up who are still getting to know each others’ first names.

    At least Giroud, Poldi and Santi now know what the EPL is like, after games against Sunderland and Stoke in consecutive weeks.

    Next week, away at ‘Pool, should suit our style more.

    I thought Arteta and Verm were magnificent today.

  130. RockyLives says:

    And the Stoke fans showed the entire world what a vile bunch they are by booing Ramsey.

    The commentators here in North America were scathing about them.

  131. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Same here Rocky.

    on another note, i think the better option for Giroo would have been to cut into Ramsey rather than shoot (towards the end) but had it gone in, it would have been contender for season.

  132. RockyLives says:

    PPP
    Cutting the ball square for Ramsey was undoubtedly the right option for Giroud, but I kind of like that he had the confidence to try that shot. If it had been a foot lower there would be 200 articles tomorrow saying “Robin who?”

    As it is, our failure to score for the second week running means the journos will be creaming themselves, particularly after BSR’s goal for the Mancs.

  133. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    All true Rocky, and i tend to agree with Giroos confidence, he worked himself into the game and was either first to a header or fouled. The talent is there in so many players but the telepathy isnt.2 points in two games with zero goals scored shows that, none the less, zer conceded is the perfect start.

  134. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    *zero

  135. Gooner In Exile says:

    Right should I watch the game on record?

  136. I was just asking myself the same question ;)

    It’s difficult to be part of the debate if you haven’t seen the game. TA is writing the match report and I do love discussing things with him so I’ll probably watch it later.

  137. goonermichael says:

    It was a solid performance GIE. We lack the penetration but our 3 new players have only played 2 games in a new league plus half a friendly together. Stoke didn’t bully us at all. I think we need a striker though.

  138. LB says:

    I thought the whole of the defence was magnificent.

    Jenkinson, BFG, Vermaelen, Gibbs.

    All very good.

  139. goonermichael says:
  140. Gooner In Exile says:

    I think I should watch it then to see what the defence is up to.

  141. LB says:

    GIE

    I may have talked about the change in the defence last week but you added somehting that had not crossed my mind: if the defence has improved that much will we actually need a DM. If the firsty two games are anything to go by then I think the answer is no.

  142. RockyLives says:

    GiE, Peaches
    It’s well worth watching – a lot of positives to take out (even if the final third stuff is a bit frustrating).

  143. RockyLives says:

    Gotta love Gary Neville:
    “That’s the best I’ve ever seen Arsenal control Stoke,” he said. “For the first time, coming away from the Britannia, they’ll be thinking to themselves they handled them in areas of the pitch they’ve never handled them before.

    “Stoke fans get the team up when they get the second balls and the set-pieces come in, but Arsenal handled every set-piece and that completely killed the crowd.

    “Stoke couldn’t create any momentum and I think you have to give Arsenal great credit.”

  144. goonermichael says:
  145. Red Arse says:

    I actually enjoyed the game.
    Like last week I am disappointed in the result, as I think we did enough to deserve to win both games.

    I have been a bit tepid in my appreciation of Arteteteta and the Jolly German Giant but both were immaculate today.

    The defence was superb as well, as has been said earlier, and Bouldy’s influence was there to see. No mad charges upfield by the Verm, just stay at home solid defence.

    Giroud was immense throughout. Putting his speed and strength to good use and not taking any crap from the Orc defence, but like everyone else needs to sharpen up his shooting.

    Carzi was wonderful in the first half, and Diaby showed flashes of his class, but both tired rapidly in the second half.
    Everyone else, including Man One was fine, and no one let the side down.

    Two ‘parked buses’ in succession are a right pain, and lend to the judgement it was a dull game, but I don’t agree, it takes two to tango, and the possession figures show we did our part.

    OK, no goal, no win but that happens.

    Give it time and the blue touch paper will ignite. :-)

  146. Gooner In Exile says:

    Ok that’s decided will watch later, am watching City v Dippers now…..see how Liverpool have “improved”

  147. Gooner In Exile says:

    It’ll certainly be interesting LB how Wenger and Bould deal with that area. Diaby has never struck me as someone who can be relied upon to cover and screen.

  148. Gooner In Exile says:

    Kolo needs to go back on the diet pills……sizeable arse!

  149. goonermichael says:

    Did anyone expect a clean sheet? I didn’t

  150. RockyLives says:

    Well GiE, I was hoping for one. But this was definitely a sterner test than Sunderland’s bus.

  151. barumgooner says:

    Oh well. Good game by all bar Gerv. Looking really organised at the back and I havent seen us deal with Stoke that easily for some time. Even Diaby did ok and Its not often I say that. The new boys will all come good i’m sure. Jenks motm for me.

  152. evonne says:

    Gary Neville – a legend :)

    GiE – your mate Tony is at his best, have to watch it

    I thought the second half was tedious, but our guys show something encouraging – they looked mature and together. I would not feck about with them, that’s for sure. Gireud looked clearly disappointed with himself, not a casual ‘oh well, next time’, but real ‘Feck!’, he will be scoring by dozens, you can see the desire

    I thought pool might win today, they are the best team to raise to the occassion, lose to lesser opponents, but beat those above them in the table. I so hope I was right

  153. Big Raddy says:

    The defence were immense. At last we look organised at set plays.

    Against Liverpool I would play Kos instead of Merts next week as they rely upon small pacy forwards.

    I was disappionted by Gervinho who worked hard but created little and his shooting was awful.

  154. barumgooner says:

    Thre trouble with Gervinho is he seems to have pace and tricks but seems reluctant to use them, instead slowing everything down all the time. I think IF he starts running at people he is a genuine threat but as soon as he stops and looks around the defender has the better of him. Diaby the same, looked very good defensively but so slow to release the ball and bring others in.

  155. Big Raddy says:

    The back four played so well that Mannone had little to do but nonetheless looked confident and secure.

  156. Big Raddy says:

    We have yet to score and are still a point ahead of Spurs :-)

  157. barumgooner says:

    True Raddy I was impressed by his apparent calmness in what must’ve been quite a nerve-racking environment. Until today I actually thought he had been released by the club.

  158. kgooner says:

    once the back gets settled in, then we start scoring goals and then some. Personally i am happy with the result. We can only get better.
    Any chance Wenger might be out looking for another striker? lorente perhaps?

  159. evonne says:

    FFBW back on the bench :)

  160. RockyLives says:

    Kgooner
    AW hinted very strongly about more transfer business this week in the post game interview. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he brought in another striker – but it will probably be someone we’re not expecting.

  161. Big Raddy says:

    Barum. Me too, I thought he was Hull bound.

  162. RockyLives says:

    Was Fabianski on the bench or is he still injured.

    Liverpool just gone 2-1 up against the Oilies.

  163. evonne says:

    it was a sublime free kick Rocky, don’t you think?
    I’m actually looking forward to going to Pool next week; I just hope we win or it will be a long journey back

  164. RockyLives says:

    Pool will be a very, very difficult game – especially if they win today.

    Joe Allen’s tidy work in MF has improved them a lot.

  165. evonne says:

    Rocky – nay, they are the most inconsistent team in EPL. Won’t be able to repeat this performance

  166. Big Raddy says:

    I agree with Rocky, next week will be very tough. It always is at Anfield and ‘Pool look very good today against a team who are the EPL Champions

  167. RockyLives says:

    Evonne – I hope so.

    At least they’ll play football. We need our forwards to bring their scoring boots.

  168. RockyLives says:

    2-2

    I hope they gift us a goal like that…

  169. RockyLives says:

    Pool have been the better team.

  170. evonne says:

    Ratty – their defence doesn’t look that good from where I am watching :)

  171. evonne says:

    I’m going to wear my Arsenal shirt, but shall I jump amongst them when we score?

  172. Red Arse says:

    Rock,

    Martinez was the GK sub on the bench.

  173. RockyLives says:

    I wouldn’t if I were you Evonne – it’ll give them the chance to dip into your handbag.

  174. Slimgingergooner says:

    Very pleased with the base of the team. Defensively we were excellent and we worked hard as a unit. Also very pleased to see us change tactics as regards Crouch (Diaby in front on goal kicks, and set pieces (Giroid attacking the ball defensively/flick on attacking corner). All signs that Bould is getting a say when it comes to how the team operates. I love Giroud’s confidence, but also his anger when things weren’t going his way. It shows he is someone who wants to impress and who cares about the team. Podolski was outstanding with his work rate as always but I want to see him more in the attacking third. The fact that the ball always seems to drop to Cazorla is the sign of a world class player. His composure and touch are fantastic and he dictates play with relative ease. He will be unbelievable for us.

    If we can get Ox and Wilshere in the team, and stop playing National Express teams, then we could have a very strong season

  175. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Redders
    Pole #2 must be injured then.

  176. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    Either that or he has been pole-axed! :-)

    In fact I wrote a comment on the rash of injuries to our GKs right the way thru to the jnr teams, but it went into the Word Press aether never to be seen again.

    Truth to tell, Flappy is still recovering from injury.

  177. RockyLives says:

    I was very nervous about Don Vito today but he did well.

  178. kgooner says:

    a positive note from @Slimgingergooner. We must be doing right.
    : )

  179. kgooner says:

    @RockyLives am glad he’s got he’s eyes out for someone

  180. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Update: apparently Fabianski is fit but Arsene, after waking up to find a horse’s head in his bed, decided to start with the Italian :)

  181. Slimgingergooner says:

    Didn’t Fabianski say he wanted out at the beginning of the season? I think that’s why he’s been dropped and it’s another £50k off the bill if we can get rid.

  182. Big Raddy says:

    Who would buy Fabianski and pay him 50k?

    Not only above Spurs but also the free-spending Scousers :-)

  183. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Crisis time, eh?

  184. Slimgingergooner says:

    £50k was a guess BR!

    I quite like him tbh, I think he could be a good keeper if he had 30 games a season. That’s just not going to happen at Arsenal though.

  185. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thought Liverpool were good pressing today which really unsettled City between defence and midfield, City might have more at the top end of the pitch but if they can’t get the ball up there it doesn’t matter how bad Liverpools defence is.

    So as long as everyone we field next Sunday is comfortable on the ball and constantly moves it forward Liverpool will have to work a lot harder than they did today to keep us pegged back.

    Thought Hart looked decidedly nervous towards the end, in my opinion he should have got that free kick, 25+ yards from goal and he could see it leave the boot so knew the trajectory his feet stopped working though going across goal.

    Liverpool had played a few dodgy back passes because they couldn’t go forward and were trying to keep the ball, Tevez saw that and was gambling it was only a matter of time before he was given a gift.

  186. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Ok, frustration on the wane, and its my kids and your comments that have helped that.

    I thought Diaby put in a fantastic shift today, and our def. ence was pretty solid, bar a couple of dodgy clearances from Tommy.

    Just need to be sharper in the final 3rd. Double training sessions for all, cos its just about playing time together..??

  187. Gooner In Exile says:

    Possibly Sharkey, I haven’t watched yet, but pretty patterns in training is one thing, pretty patterns against different oppositions more difficult.

  188. chas says:

    I’m still not too sure about how I feel about today’s result.
    Two whole games watched without a goal.
    As my brother said during the game, I want to feel like I do when we score again, I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like.

    I thought things were going well at half time, but didn’t progress in the second. From row 10, it seemed as though Gervinho and Diaby would be the first off, with Walcott and the Ox on for them, especially as we needed a goal.
    Theo played very narrow when he came on, almost as a second striker. Every time the midfield looked for the wide option on the right, there wasn’t one. I wonder if those were his orders.

    Anyway, on to Liverpool.

  189. Slimgingergooner says:

    PSG showing that money buys you…..nothing!!!! Sagna in the studio on ESPN! Legend!

    Anyone read Barton’s rants on twitter? He is an embarassement to himself and his club. He’s bleeting on about how his ban is his own fault and that he’s taking it like a man, yet he’s posted it in a 5 tweet rant on a social media site in between moaning about how his manager hates him and hes lost his number, captaincy etc! I vaguely remember him being the next Gerrard when he was at City and concentrated on his football! Just shows what money/celebrity can do!

  190. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Chas,
    Tough place to be an away fan. Few teams put on a good display there.
    So Theo. Mirrored his drifting in from last week. Orders? Good question, and I’d love to know the answer.

  191. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I asked this morning about Rosicky’s health, and the reason was that I think during today’s game, for example, bringing him and Ox on may have been more effective than Theo and Ox. I just cannot see the use of Theo in games like Stoke and Sunderland. Barca…yes

  192. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dum di dum di dum

  193. goonermichael says:

    Slim

    You should just block him like I have

  194. Slimgingergooner says:

    GM,

    Can I abuse him if he’s blocked though!? Not sure on the twitter rules!

    Micky,

    I agree about Theo. He is most effective against teams who play their full backs higher up the pitch. It’s no surprise that his better performances come against the likes of Barca, Chelsea etc

  195. chas says:

    BR,
    I forgot to thank you for the ‘post-match’. Well that’s when I read it anyway. (For some reason the site was loading up on my phone with a red background and blue text so was unreadable.)

    Stoke are now on course to score 19 goals this season, us zero. :(

    I still don’t think we should bait Stoke. It only benefits them when there’s a nastier atmosphere at the game. The only times their crowd got excited today was when Wenger stood up and waved his arms about. The crowd got up and as a consequence their team did, albeit briefly. It was as if he was a cheer leader for the opposition. Someone should tell him ( this means you, Steve Bould), that he should exude an air of French sophistication not rant and rave. I mean, just look at Poolis and you’ll see how ridiculous it looks. :)

  196. Gooner In Exile says:

    SGG simple rules of twitter, unfollow any footballer who does not play for Arsenal (unless they are youngsters gone before they got a chance…Bartley). Unfollow any Arsenal fan who says more than three things you disagree with. The ones you end up following will likely retweet the real loonies.

  197. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thank you for the post pre match King. You have outdone yourself with the beard today. The only thing that could make it more hilarious is if the crazy coot was bald on top. hahaha.

    Great performance today, but for christs sake someone put the ball in the bloody net. is that to much to ask for? theres the bloody net theres the bloody ball now stick the bloody thing in it.

    I am realy frustrated because our improvement is no surprise to me. We will just get better and better, thats obvious. The Club is on the right track and trophies will come but we have a chance to nick the league this season and dropping points early wont help that ambition.

    Next weeks game is massive for confidence. A win there and people who still doubt will sit up and take notice. What ever the result at Anfield we will have a great season. A season that will push the Club on now and for the future.

    Just a thought for you. Imagine this set up with a more experienced Wilshere, Chamberlin, Gibbs, Jenks etc, and then tell me the negatives?

    “The Ghosts of the 30’s are stiring”

  198. goonermichael says:

    My timeline on twitter is really good now. I blocked some really negative people because they are depressing. piss morgan, barton and a few others so i don’t see retweets. I’ve been blocked by some journos I abuse or disagreed with. stan collymore blocked me for some reason. think i mentioned him being a woman beater.

    barton is an idiot. he tries to be intellectual by quoting morrissey and Nietzsche. he is a wanker of the highest order.

  199. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    that twitter thing is dangerous GM. was at the airport about 6 weeks ago where Mrs Terry pointed out that some singer called Tiny Temper was sitting near by. ide never heard of the bloke.

    Anyway, we were soon surrounded by gangs of teens giving it “Tiny Temper, twitter him, twitter him” They were all on there phones jostling for postition whilst twatering him. After a couple of miniutes i heard one of them say “trying to get a picture for twatter but that old git is in the way”.I found this quite amusing until i turned around and realised they were refering to me. Eventuly had to move away as the twatter mob grew in number and there twattering became unbearable. I did say to one of them, excuse me do you mind not using your phone within my personal space but all i got was “cant you see ime twattering here mate” Very dangerous that twatter.

  200. Total says:

    Hi Chas, I sent a report to Peaches a few minutes ago, but it would be great if you could add an ‘eye-witness’ section. I would love to hear your experiences at the Orc-hole. Did you take any pics? If so, we could use them in the post…. :)

  201. Total says:

    Great pre-match Raddy – always a joy to read. :)

  202. chas says:

    TA,
    I sent a few photos to nuts yesterday tea time.

  203. dandan says:

    Hi Chas, enjoying first coffee of the day, enjoyed yesterday, liked the stability at the back and believe the goals will come, next game should be a cracker, no parking of the bus at Anfield under Rodgers.

  204. chas says:

    Morning, dandan.

    Very Com Fort Table. :)

  205. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning dandan et Chas
    That Transplant’s optimism is highly infectious.
    I think we are in for a hectic final window days

  206. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,

    Re your comment about the drifting central Theo.
    Given what we have read about Song, Orders and Disobeying, what do you think is happening?
    Against Sunderland, it did not show up on the iplayer, but “live” empty space down the right was big.

  207. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What I’m getting at is that Arsene doesn’t find getting off his arse to flap his arms at officials, but is very reluctant to do it at players.

  208. MickyDidIt89 says:

    At a time during a game (last 15 mins) when the oppo are tired, we should be stretching their defence wide to hopefully create a little more space in the middle, and yet the last two games, we are playing right into their hands by compressing their defence.

  209. chas says:

    Micky,
    I assumed Theo would come on to stretch them out wide.
    Playing through the centre would be a plan ‘b’ change in formation and would be unusual to say the least.
    If I had to plump for tactics change or disobedience, I’d probably go for the former.

    I can’t understand any manager berating the 4th official. What influence do they have over the game? The 4th official yesterday was Hard Webb. His strutting around like some sort of meathead you find at the local gym makes me want to puke. It feels like the mancs have their own representative at the game.

  210. chas says:

    Whoops, should have been ‘the latter’.
    Snaperooni on stretching the mighty Orc backside as wide as possible. :)

    Must go, soz.

  211. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    The former or the latter? I don’t know, but neither are good.
    Cannot wait to play Pool and watch a real football match.

  212. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah, the latter. I agree.
    Must go as well.

  213. chas – are you still about, your photos didn’t arrive in nuts, can you send them again please ;)

  214. kelsey says:

    What a doomer you are Micky :)

  215. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Touche Kelsey :-)

  216. New Post ………………..

  217. chas says:

    I’m at the gym. Have re-sent original mail.

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