Last time we played Stoke was early in the season, a 0-0 draw at the Britannia. I remember being disappointed by the draw but more so by our inability to score. How different it is today …
Note the Nil for Stoke. A Nil. This shows that our defence was not breached; that a team of giants could not score from a cross into our goal area. It is now 6 PL games since our last defensive Nil. In those 6 games we have conceded 11 goals – almost 2 a game.
Yet, our Back 5 looks so solid on paper. Rasp has been saying since season’s start that our defence is the root cause of our inconsistency, a point of view hard to disagree with. My early thoughts were that with Steve Bould to educate and train them our back 5 could become the best for many season. BR had faith in the skills of Santos and was happy with our LB situation.
How wrong was I?
But no fear …. Nacho to the rescue. Rarely will a player start a game under so much scrutiny. Is he the saviour? We shall see, but let us not judge Monreal on this afternoon’s performance; he will need time to bed in and The Orcs are a baptism of fire.
Stats: Stoke have only won one away game this season. They have scored 8 goals in 12 away games. They have not won for 5 games. Stoke have never won at THOF. They are Orcs.
Pulis (how I hate typing that word) has created the Volvo 760 of the football world. Big, ugly, efficient and does what other cars do but with far less panache. His brand of football takes the entertainment out of the game. And the supporters …… if they weren’t such a shower of **** one would feel sorry for them. Not only having to live in a town which under any caring government would be demolished, but having to pay to watch a Volvo 760.
An Arsenal stat: If the PL was based on halves, Arsenal would be 12th on first halves and 2nd to Man City on second halves. The solution is simple – give the lads some smelling salts prior to kick-off.
Todays team: Arteta is close to a return but I wouldn’t risk him against The Orcs. Diaby or Ramsey? Ramsey for me – Chief Orc Shawcross is sure to receive his usual warm Emirates welcome.
Thinking about it, the pairing of Shawcross and Huth reminds me of this …
We have been missing Ox for a few games now. It hurt to see him as an unused sub on Weds night. We had 20 minutes to finish off an on-the-ropes Liverpool but AW chose not to attack; mistakenly in my view. Ox needs game time and I hope he gets at least 20 minutes today.
Runners & Riders:
Todays Explorer: George Mallory (1886-1924). Another great Englishmen who deserves further investigation. Huge doubts arise about who was the first man to ascend Everest but recent theory suggest it was Mallory and not some New Zealander. One of the world’s foremost mountaineers he made a number of explorations of the Himalayas before attempting to climb it’s highest peak. When asked why he wanted to climb Everest he responded with 3 classic words, “Because it’s There”.
Mallory died on the ascent, but perhaps it was during the descent and herein lies the mystery – we will never know. Mallory’s body was found 75 years later.
Such was Mallory’s esteem that King George V, the Prime Minister Ramsey Macdonald and all his cabinet attended his memorial at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
May have been one of Britain’s finest but … No Facial Hair, no Knighthood
February is traditionally a good month for The Arsenal. A win today would set up us nicely.
Written by Big Raddy