A Baptism of Fire?

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.

Unknown

Nacho Man

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.

Unknown-1Stoke’s First Team Photo

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 …

images-1

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:

arse v orcs

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.

images-2

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.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

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150 Responses to A Baptism of Fire?

  1. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Morning brilliant post BR .

    Out of the blue, Arsenal signed Nacho Monreal from Malaga for an undisclosed on the winter transfer deadline day on Thursday.
    But who exactly is he? Many Gooners out there, me included, don’t know squat about the new face at our club.
    So here are 8 things you should know about the lad:

    1. Nacho Monreal, who stands at 5’11’’, is a 26-year-old Spanish left-back who began his career at Osasuna as a youth product.

    2. In 2006, Monreal made the breakthrough to the Osasuna first-team. In the 2007/08 season, the Spaniard became first-choice left back at the Pamplona club until he moved to Malaga in 2011 for €6 million. He made 127 appearances in all competitions for Osasuna, scoring three goals along the way
    .
    3. In 2007, Monreal earned his first cap for the Spain Under-21 side. He started every match in the 2009 European Championship, three in total.

    4. He earned his first cap for the Spanish senior side in a friendly game against Macedonia in August 2009. He only played 15 minutes, replacing Joan Capdevila.

    5. Since joining the Spanish senior squad, in 2009, Monreal has won nine caps for his country.

    6. In his first season at Malaga, Monreal made a total of 33 appearances in all competitions, missing only seven games that campaign.

    7. He scored his first and only goal for Malaga on the 27th of January 2013 in a 3-2 away win against Mallorca.

    8. After only two seasons at Malaga, making a total of 54 appearances in all competitions for the La Liga club, the full-back signed for Arsenal on the 31st of January this year for a reported fee of around £8.3 million.

    Much Love
    Sheep Hagger™

  2. Shard says:

    A new pre match, and a new explorer. Thank you BR.

    As to the explorer. Was Alistair Maclean’s Capt. (or was it major) Keith Mallory, in Guns of Navarone, based on George Mallory? Like him, Keith is supposed to be an expert climber. But, he was a New Zealander. Perhaps it was a tribute to two great climbers.

    The entire team today have to be prepared to fight for everything, and against everything going against them. The Stoke fouls and tugs will not be called. They will fall over at every slightest touch to try and win a free kick so they can get the taller orcs up to attack. They will lunge in recklessly and probably get away with it. And I suppose they will target certain players like Jack, Cazorla, and Nacho (if he is a starter :) ) We have to cope with all of that and impose ourselves on the game. If Diaby is fit, then I would pick him over Ramsey. Not much, but Diaby offers a little more physicality and directness. We might even see a return of the playing a solitary winger and playing a midfielder (Ramsey/Rosicky) out wide, although at home that is less likely. I’m not going to predict a score, but I am hopeful that we can win this. Just need to start the game well.

  3. Sammy says:

    Yes, Keith Mallory was based on George. One of McLeans best books, and a great movie too.

  4. evonne says:

    Raddy – this must be one of your better posts, truly amazing. The Volvo of football, the Orcs, their manager….don’t you like Stoke then :)

    The explorer I have never heard of before, good story and a very handsome young man. All in all BR was well worth waiting for.

    I have mixed feelings about Nacho starting today – on one hand the lad needs time to settle and the baptism of fire might come at a price, but if he doesn’t poor Santos will be let lose again. Oh dear, tough decision, I need time to digest it

  5. Janman says:

    Red Arse. I am confused, have I said something to offend you?

    Evonne, my apologies if I have broken some rule of AA? You see this is why I do not blog and prefer to be just a reader, no matter what you say, someone takes it out of text! I’ ll leave you with this, if you are a true supporter then you support the team through thick and thin. Of course you have the right to complain and air your thoughts and opinions but at the end of the day you get behind the team and provide them with your support, if you are true supporter, then it is in your blood! Is it really all doom and gloom at AFC? I wonder how many supporters of other clubs would rather be in our position? Three points today, lets be positive. I have enjoyed my very short appearance on AA and will continue to be an avid reader.

  6. Shard says:

    Sammy,

    Thanks. I loved the book, but was a little disappointed with the movie. I suppose that is only natural.

  7. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Janman, no, you have got the wrong end of the stick. evonne was tallking about scrolling up to read your comment because every one was complementing it. Red Arse was talking about someone else not you.

    By the way your comment last night was superb. Keep posting.

  8. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice stuff Raddy.

    I am realy looking forward to going today. the signs for this team are very good. At times against Liverpool we were excellent.

    We will overcome our problems. Think about it like this. Liverpool started suarez, one of teh best strikers in the league wide left against us, why? Because they fear our quality. The ingredients are there and we will get better and better

    Awsome magnificence awaits.

  9. kelsey says:

    A real positive post Raddy :)

    I hate Stoke, the Stoke players, the Stoke manager and their fans .
    Huff will huff the ball so expect an ariel attack. If Nancho plays it will be interesting to see how he gets on,especially with his ex team mate at Malaga so one presumes santi might drift to the left.
    Interesting stat: we have scored the most goals at Home (joint with united) Stoke have scored the least goals Away.

    Janman, don’t let one retard who burst into our blog upset the apple cart. You are more than welcome and Red Arse is a gentle giant who not many ever understand what he writes :)
    My concern is our Pole in Goal who looks decidly shaky these past few games.It will need a good performance from him.

  10. Shard says:

    Speaking of Stoke…. Anyone planning to watch the rugby today?

  11. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey.As you say we need a god performance from TPIG, in particular when he chooses to come out to collect/punch crosses.

  12. Red Arse says:

    Popped back to have a ‘Raddy read’, and an enjoyable pre-match, complete with a derring do explorer was my reward. :-) Thank you.

    Janman, you certainly have not said anything to offend me — quite the opposite. :-)

    Your 10:15 p.m yesterday was an excellent comment and is a credit to you. You are very welcome on AA, which is, on the whole, a grown up and civilized site, and I personally look forward to learning more of your views and opinions, as i am sure is everyone else too.

  13. Red Arse says:

    Terry,

    All finished? Bamboozled the tax man for another year? :-)

    What on earth were you doing blogging at 3:00 a.m. this morning?
    Had the Glicster let you out from his cellar? :-)

  14. kelsey says:

    “a god performance from TPIG” ;)raddy have you been rattled.

  15. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Redders

    Yes all finished. But now my clocks all over the place. Ive only had a few hours sleep. My eyes are so dark and puffy people might think a Panda has escaped from the Zoo. But its more likley they will think urghh, ugly git. hahaha

  16. GunnerN5 says:

    Janman;

    The stink comes from a poster who’s name rhymes with Rectum – your post’s are exceptional.

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Raddy,

    Your post is by far your best. Thank you for adding a hugely enjoyable dimension to match day.

    I have to run as I need to explore a new explorer.

  18. kelsey says:

    Head-to-head

    Arsenal have won their last 10 home games against Stoke in all competitions.
    The Potters’ last win away to the Gunners was a 1-0 victory at Highbury on 29 August 1981.

    Arsenal

    Opta statistics show that Arsenal have made more errors leading directly to a goal than any other team in the Premier League this season (13).
    There have been 50 Premier League goals scored at the Emirates Stadium this season – more than at any other ground.
    If games began in the second half, Arsenal would be second in the table with 46 points, two points behind Manchester City.(BBC)

  19. kgooner says:

    @Shard Watched the rugby game. 7s i presume? England vs Kenya. Am Kenyan, so you can imagine my grief after we handed them the match last minute from a 19-12 lead. Kind of reminded me of us. : (

    as always i appreciate the post and BR for dedicating some of his time to j0t down a post of us avid readers. I started a blog of my own (non-football related). . .title, pic, theme, settings, about etc. All but my first post. My point, thanks to all of you who volunteer to do the posts on here.

    Onto the match. I just found out the match won’t be aired on my cable subscription. Bollocks! I’m eager all week and they drop this on me now? A chance to see Nacho? : ( Humbly request any of you to share a link.

    Win over stoke and on to 4th! Up the arse!

  20. evonne says:

    Janman – I LOVED your comments, please keep on blogging. English is my second language and sometimes I don’t express myself clearly. What did I say this time??

    Terry – thanks for explanations. I am pleased to see that your polish is improving :)

    QPR v Norwich game is not great, I am switching over to rugby

  21. Shard says:

    kgooner

    I actually meant the 6nations rugby, which is to start in about 10 minutes. Like Evonne, I’ve been watching the QPR v Norwich game, and I think the Wales-Ireland rugby will be better entertainment. Of course by the time Arsenal play I’ll be switching over to that.

  22. GoonerB says:

    Great report oh fellow Shagaluf reveller, and a non hairy explorer today. He looks more like an angelic choirboy. Some positive noises from Evonne about him, and I am wondering if maybe this is Evonne’s favourite type, sweet, innocent and impressionable…..

    I always use Mallory’s famous words whenever Mrs GoonerB asks the silly question of “Why do we have to go to the pub now?”.

    Some very interesting stats posted up by some of you today which only seem to be making Rasp look more prophetic. The positive is that we are showing title challenging statistics in some areas, so if we can just iron out the deficient areas then who knows. I refer back to Vieiras recent statements about this being largely an excellent team, but it just needs to mature a bit more to gain that consistency that allows you to win the big trophies. Lets be positive and go out to smash the Volvo to pieces in demolition derby style.

    If the rumours about Etienne Capoue and David Villa were true then maybe we have something to look forward to in the summer.

  23. Red Arse says:

    Hi GoonerB, :-)

    Don’t you dare start the June to August transfer rumours on the 2nd February.

    Altho’ I have heard we were looking for vertically challenged, technically gifted players, who must be no taller than 4 feet.

    This is Arsene’s new strategy, they are guaranteed not to go for the jugular of the opposition, but to harass them at goolie level.

    Just a rumour! :-)

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    RA;

    That’s nuts!

  25. GoonerB says:

    Good afternoon to you Redders. I hope all is well.

    I don’t know how is playing currently but does anyone else think we missed a trick in not getting Samba when he left Blackburn. I believe he was keen on us and wasn’t demanding bust the bank wages either.

  26. RockyLives says:

    Is there a better reading experience in the Arsenal blog world than a BR pre-match?

    Funny, informative and astute: absolutely brilliant.

    The enigma of whether or not Mallory made it to the top of Everest (therefore becoming the first to do so) may one day be answered.

    He had a camera with him which has never been found, but with so many Everest expeditions these days it could, one day, be discovered. Certainly modern climbers there often come across objects of “mountaineering archaeology” as they tackle the mountain.

    If so – who knows – there may be a picture of our hero perched on top of the world. It would be nice to think so…

  27. kelsey says:

    Santi and podolski on the bench !!!!
    Diaby and Nancho start

  28. RockyLives says:

    The “goals conceded from defensive errors” stat is simply shocking.

    AW blames the constant criticism of the team and the negativity directed at the players.

    Obviously there’s a ‘chicken and egg’ element to this, but I think there’s something in what Wenger says.

  29. Janman says:

    Evonne, English is not my first language either. You did not say anything wrong. As Terry said earlier, looks as though I got the wrong end of the stick. I had thought my comment posted last night had upset the likes of you and RA. My business commitments do not allow me a great deal of free time for continued blog dialog with other fans, that is why I am normally just a reader and not a poster. Again, this is one of the better Arsenal blogs available and the contributor’s mostly provide open honest comments for debate. Keep up the great work and I will join in whenever I can. Should be three points for the Arsenal today and hopefully a sound debut from our new Nacho man, 3-1 to the Arsenal.

  30. GunnerN5 says:

    TEAM NEWS: Monreal to make Arsenal debut

    Nacho Monreal will make his Arsenal debut on Saturday against Stoke City after Arsène Wenger made five changes to his side.

    The Spain international completed a move from Malaga on transfer deadline day, and comes in for the injured Kieran Gibbs, who sustained a thigh injury in midweek against Liverpool.

    Elsewhere, Laurent Koscielny replaces the injured Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta returns to skipper the side, with Aaron Ramsey dropping to the bench.

    Santi Cazorla will also start from the bench, with his place taken by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Abou Diaby starts in place of Lukas Podolski.

    Team in full: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Diaby, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Giroud.

    Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Santos, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski.

  31. Red Arse says:

    GN5, @ 2:01, :D

    The strategy is more commonly called “Ringing the bells”. :-)

  32. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    Were you suggesting there were scousers up Everest at the time? :-)

  33. Red Arse says:

    Wales 3 Ireland 28.

    Good game!

  34. Red Arse says:

    I’m fine GoonerB, thank you, and I hope you are too!! :-)

  35. GunnerN5 says:

    RA:

    I have an extreme dislike for the “Pulis’ Putrid Potters” so ringing their bell will make a great sound.

  36. oz gunner says:

    about a 15 second lag

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Ox starting …. great

    Strong bench

  38. oz gunner says:

    I love the new walcott. He knows how to use his pace brilliantly now.

    @ BR

    solid as ever. thank you

  39. kelsey says:

    well we have definitely started well

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Pace on both wings is good, just need to get in a decent cross.

  41. oz gunner says:

    the quicker stoke get relegated the better. They must not have got the memo that lower teams are now playing football, and having success doing it.

    So close!!

  42. oz gunner says:

    bloody begovic!

  43. kelsey says:

    I think we are really playing well just need a bit of luck.Ox might have had a couple.mertesacker better suited to this game.walcott is actually winning tackles, only Diaby isn’t match fit.

  44. Big Raddy says:

    I hate it when a goalkeeper plays superbly against us. Begovic kept Stoke in the game.

    Positives: We had a 15 minute spell of lovely football
    Szczesny not had a save to make.
    Monreal looks very tidy and has some real pace.
    Ox is adding some venom to the left
    Theo playing with confidence.
    Clean sheet ….. so far

    Negatives. We didn’t score

  45. Adrian says:

    Couple more seconds to the ref blowing the half time whistle and the players (diaby and arteta I think) didn’t cross it and instead chose to pass it sideways multiple times.. Need more urgency in the final third and build up play imo.

  46. evonne says:

    I missed first 30mins, damn it!! Why are Stoke players wearing bandages on their heads? Did we really injure them :)

  47. Red Arse says:

    Pretty good, except for the return of the sideways/backwards passing.

    My stream has ‘frozen’ 3 or 4 times, but with such little movement when we are trying to work an attack it was hard to tell the difference.

    More energy needed, please guys.

  48. evonne says:

    Janman – I am delighted we sorted it out! Looking forward to reading your comments

    oz – cheers matey, my streams are diabolical today, yourse looks promising

    Stoke looked under siege for at least last quarter; matter of time before we score

  49. oz gunner says:

    no problem evonne, happy to help

  50. kelsey says:

    santi for arteta and keep the ball on the ground

  51. oz gunner says:

    YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

  52. oz gunner says:

    I don’t think it’s possible to hate shawcross any more, buzz off it’s a goal

  53. oz gunner says:

    wow how’d he miss that?!

  54. kelsey says:

    Don’r bring on Santos to tighten up the defence,please :)

  55. oz gunner says:

    3 strikers, time to hit them on the counter and put this to bed

  56. oz gunner says:

    haha Kelsey. No chance, i’d rather see Arshavin defend! :)

  57. oz gunner says:

    jesus that one would have hurt! Kozzers mrs won’t be pleased!

  58. oz gunner says:

    haha szcz, that was hilarious! “where is it?”

  59. oz gunner says:

    Yes! tough and good victory. Clean sheet, good defending, nacho looks good. smiles all round

  60. Big Raddy says:

    Phew. Lucky goal but a well deserved win

    I hate the Orcs. Dreadful team and it is amazing we didn’t get any injuries.

    Excellent debut from Monreal

  61. kelsey says:

    Much improved all round performance.New boy did well. christ,jack takes some tackles in a game. Pity everton got a late draw,but it’s all getting a bit closer.

  62. evonne says:

    lu lu lu, Lulu Podolski
    off side, deflected, anything else? Do I look as if I care :) :)

  63. oz gunner says:

    glad chelsea lost

  64. Adrian says:

    I loved what Sczcesny did there hahaha. Overall a good game, shame really that all keepers decide to go all world class whenever they play us.

  65. evonne says:

    oz – your gravatar!! ha ha ha. Can I use your TA one? That was the best ever

  66. oz gunner says:

    5 points off 3rd! easy!

  67. Big Raddy says:

    Where is everyone today. We (the non-attenders) need support through a tense game like that!

  68. Rob Lucci says:

    I couldn’t watch Arsenal play tonight since every restaurant in town decided to watch Chelsea match instead. pfffftt!!!

    In your face!!!

  69. Rob Lucci says:

    awesome pre match as always Raddy.

    somebody please upload Prince Poldi goals!

  70. Big Raddy says:

    Imagine having to watch Stoke every week? We may complain about our team and the tikka-takka but it is good on the eye.

    That Shacross and Wilkinson stayed on the pitch is proof of Foy’s leniency

  71. Gooner In Exile says:

    Some idiot scheduled a family visit for 3pm on aSarurday afternoon without looking at the fixture list…..that’ll be me then. So my only look at what was going on was me and my Dad watching the 4-4-2 app for updates.

    Based on stats I can assume Stoke huffed and puffed in defence for 90 minutes and we were susceptible to counter attacks and throw ins only.

    Breathed a huge sigh of relief when Pods goal flashed up.

    Checked Monreals stats at half time and saw that over 50% of his passes were in the attacking third :)

    Another must win game won, I can smell St Totteringhams day again, Chelsea losing and Everyon drawing also good for the push.

  72. oz gunner says:

    Of course evonne, here’s the link to the pic

    http://p.twimg.com/AxB50lBCEAAOJlU.jpg:large

    @ Radish

    It’d drive you nuts! and yeah where was everyone? that piker PPP must have gone to bed, although it is 4 in the morning

  73. RockyLives says:

    Well that was good :)

    And with Chavs losing and Toffees drawing, the three points was vital. We just need West Brom to do the decent thing tomorrow and put the Spuds to the sword.

    We were unlucky not to be ahead at half time but kept going and thoroughly deserved the win.

    Interesting that we competed very well against them physically.

    MoTM for me a coin toss between Theo and the BFG, with Arteta and Jack as close runners up.

    Great debut from Mr Chips-n-Dips.

    And how nice to be able to bring players like Santi and Pod off the bench when the game needed winning.

  74. Gooner In Exile says:

    Not saying BBCdont like us but their website gives possession stats as 47% us 53% Stoke, 442 app says 65.5% us 34.5% Stoke my only guess is the Beeb count time wasting aspossession

  75. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thanks for the vid Oz, best thing about it for me was the three attackers sprinting into get the rebounds.

  76. Big Raddy says:

    We could a have bench of Gervinho, Podolski,Diaby, TV, Gibbs, , Jenks.

    I wonder if Ramsey can play in goal?

  77. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. The Beeb have repeatedly stated that Nacho cost 10m pounds. He didn’t but once again it fits their narrative

  78. RockyLives says:

    Anyone have any idea why the lino tried to disallow the goal?

    Apart from the fact that he was a total plonker who didn’t flag a single foul against Theo despite three or four happening right under his nose.

    I haven’t looked him up, but I bet he’s from the Northern Mafia of EPL officials.

  79. Big Raddy says:

    BBC say the linesman thought the deflection came off Giroud who was in an offside position.

    He had a dreadful game throughout

  80. RockyLives says:

    BR
    I thought all the officials did.
    Foy let far too many fouls go unpunished. The lino appeared to be blind. And Shawcross should have got a straight red for going in on Kozzer studs up.

  81. RockyLives says:

    Although Foy claws back a little bit of ground by over-ruling the idiot lino on the goal.

  82. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal’s 25 (22) man squad for the remainder of 2012/13

    ……………………………………………………………………………..

    Arshavin, Andrey;
    Arteta Amatriain, Mikel;
    Cazorla, Santiago;
    Clarindo Dos Santos, Andre;
    Diaby, Vassiriki Abou;
    Fabianski, Lukasz;
    Yao, Gervais Kouassi (Gervinho);
    Gibbs, Kieran James Ricardo;
    Giroud, Olivier;
    Koscielny, Laurent;
    Mannone, Vito;
    Mertesacker, Per;
    Monreal, Ignacio;
    Podolski, Lukas;
    Ramsey, Aaron James;
    Rosicky, Tomas;
    Sagna, Bacary;
    Squillaci, Sebastien;
    Szczesny, Wojciech Tomasz;
    Vermaelen, Thomas;
    Walcott, Theo James;
    Eastmond, Craig Leon

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Nope. Arsenal website says Theo was in an offside position but not interfering with play …. so who knows?

  84. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Hi
    How did we play I see we won and I seen others scores went for us.
    Was unable to check the score as I have been in prison/jail all day just glad we won.
    Did nacho play well.

    Much love

  85. RockyLives says:

    BR
    That’s what I thought he’d flagged for – Theo was slightly offside when the shot was taken, but no way could he be considered to be interfering with play.

  86. Big Raddy says:

    GN5 I was going to write that JW, Jenks, and Coquelin weren’t in it. Fortunately, I stopped myself :-)

  87. RockyLives says:

    Sheep
    We played well, but the Orcs parked the bus and it was hard to break them down.

    We were unlucky with the rub of the green a few times in the first half and their ‘keeper had a blinder.

    Pod scored from a free kick that took a deflection, but a 1-0 was the least we deserved.

    Nacho Man looked really good.

  88. RockyLives says:

    I think the defence deserves a word of praise after all the criticism since the Liverpool game.

    Although we had most of the possession, the Orcs still got to fire the ball into our box a fair few times and we never looked really troubled.

  89. GunnerN5 says:

    Yea Raddy – that under 21 rule, we have another 41 players that can also play in the squad, plus a further 10 who are out on loan..

  90. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky,

    I’d thought the same but then I remembered that it was difficult for them not to play well when the ball was constantly in Stoke’s half.

  91. Big Raddy says:

    Stoke have now scored 8 goals in 13 games. Is that entertainment?

  92. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Cheers rocky .
    Just read a report nothing new from stoke in the parking bus tactics I see.
    Tony pulis is also a sheep

  93. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Not allowed phones in jail.
    So I had to wait till 5 pm and listen to the reports on radio on way home.

    Lets wait and see what Spectrum has to say about or win .
    Ten $ says he will be negative

  94. Who fancies writing a match report?

  95. GunnerN5 says:

    Raddy, I guess it is entertianment for a Stokey.

    Game stopped at Craven Cottage – power outage.

  96. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Not me peaches love I did not see the game only just seen the goal
    On this site.
    Much love
    Sheepy ™

  97. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp,

    I’ve sent the updated widgets to Arsenal nuts.

    Do you plan on using the other two on the workbook or should I just scrap them?

  98. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Man poo 0-0 half time .

  99. GunnerN5 says:

    Raddy,

    I just figured it out – goals are like sex to a Stokey the longer they wait the better it feels when they score!

  100. VeraCruz says:

    Couldn’t watch the game so kept on checking the live updates, a hard win and a clean sheet and against stoke that makes it even more sweet. Now on another matter, I read this morning something arsene said about the difference on our first half performances and second half being linked to the negativity surrounding the club so players go into the game putting extra pressure on themselves and as the game goes on they relax and are able to express themselves better on the pitch ence the improved performance by second half. From those who have watched the game today how did the two halves compare?

  101. evonne says:

    this Fulham team is like Dad’s army, full of EPL rejects. Play good football tonight, would love them to win

  102. kelsey says:

    I thought we played just as well in both halves.At least we started on the front foot and Stoke are Stoke. A little more composure and the Ox will start scoring.Would like to see jack shoot a bit more often.
    how the pundits can say we didn’t play well (Matt le Tissier) I would remind him that it takes two to tango.

  103. slime says:

    Great result(s) today and all of a sudden just 4 points off 3rd! Not seen any of the game but sounds like we were ok. Clean sheet makes me very happy.

    Looks like another season where we need to remind ourselves that it’s 38 games long, and being top 4 at any other point except after 38 games means nothing.

  104. SON OF SPECTRUM says:

    Just a useless bit of info, but our new LB ” Nacho “, correct name is………….Ignacio Monreal Eraso, which has a rather fitting anagram of……. ” Ciao Arsenal, I`m Gooner ! “.

  105. evonne says:

    Sanderos giftet manyoo a goal

  106. VeraCruz says:

    When teams play its I always find it mystifying by the way they gift goals in ways they would never do when playing Arsenal or any other team for that matter, its incredible

  107. VeraCruz says:

    When teams play utd*

  108. evonne says:

    please…………………….come on Fulham

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Damn three points taste gooood
    Even sweeter with other results going our way
    Superb pm Raddy, thank you
    Kiwi first to the top of Everest?
    Piffle
    Sherpa Tensing?
    Off again sadly

  110. Does anyone want to offer to write something about the game for tomorrow’s post ………. ?????

  111. oz gunner says:

    Has peaches gone yet?

    Damn she’s still lurking!

  112. 26may1989 says:

    Morning comrades. I’m just back in from some travels and have been catching up on what I’ve missed. From the highlights of yesterday’s game, it seems we were OK, certainly looked good for the win. Bit of a jammy goal in terms of the deflection but how the linesman even thought there was a possibility of an offside (whether for Theo or the deflection, if it had come off one of our players) is beyond me. Well done to Chris Foy for putting him right.

    Michael Own, punching Arteta? Didn’t really like like a punch, much too tame for that. Suspending him for that would be over the top.

    Any right thinking person of course hates Stoke and detests Pulis. So it was enjoyable to read that he’s been whining about unfair treatment, and tried to play the “we’re so poor, we can’t expect to win these games” card. It’s been a source of a lot of frustration for me that the journos lap this stuff up, saying in effect that it’s fine for Stoke to play the style they do, even when it verges on the violent, because they’re a poor, itsy bitsy club. The trouble with that theory is that Pulis has spent vast amounts of money. Stoke are about 6th in the list of spenders over the past five or six seasons, yet are allowed to say they are David to our Goliath. It was therefore good to see on newsnow that someone had done some sums and concluded that Pulis has spent £120m more than Wenger. Not a level playfield? On your bike, you prat, you’ve had an incredibly soft ride and, given the resources available compared with the likes of Swansea, Everton and West Brom, Stoke should be doing much better than they are.

    I didn’t really get from the highlights whether Nacho (are we calling him Nacho or Monreal?) looked good, so I’ll have to watch the whole 90 minutes, whatever the wife says…. Not many of us were looking for Wenger to sign a leftback but Gibbs’s injury, and Santos’s dire form, does mean it is logical. I read that Wenger considers Nacho to be capable of playing left midfield as well, which could be excellent news, given that we don’t have that many left sided players and that he could play in front of Gibbs and allow Podolski to go up front. It’s an option at least.

    Little bit of news from Nigeria: Arsenal and United are about level on the shirts in the street count, with Liverpool and Spurs invisible, but I’m sorry to say Chelsea and Barca are way out in front.

  113. 26may1989 says:

    Here’s a question for traditionalists: famously, Arsenal captains get to choose whether the team would wear short or long sleeves for a game. In previous years, that of course wouldn’t include keepers, who would always wear long sleeves. But Szczesny is a 21st century boy and is fond of short sleeves with some sort of undershirt. Should he have to comply with the captain’s choice and wear long sleeves when, as yesterday, the rest of the team does?

    These are important issues……

  114. evonne says:

    hi 26, I’d rather they didn’t wear anything at all :)

    We, the AAers call the new defender Nacho, but TV commentators refer to him by his last name. He looked good, solid and unfased by the Orcs; hopefully we will soon call him Hero.

    I didn’t know about Pulis’ spending prowess, thank you for this information, very interesting.

    good to see you back

  115. 26may1989 says:

    evonne, you mucky blighter!

  116. evonne says:

    oh yeah? but when dirty old men drool over young girls, that it’s great? psssshhhh… I am a modern woman

    Tony Pulis has admitted on national TV that he does not understand the offside rules

  117. Gooner In Exile says:

    26 I don’t really see how short sleeves plus undershirt is different from long sleeves anyway so I agree Sz should be made to confirm to choice.

    Nigel Winterburn always used to roll his up no matter what captains choice was.

    On Pulis I wholeheartedly agree, his comment post match “I don’t know what offside is anymore” erm Tony it’s not difficult, that decision had nothing to do with the new offside rule, that would have been onside under the old rules you cretin, only player offside when the ball was struck was Theo, and he was not interfering with play. And that’s that.

    Agreed Owen did not punch Arteta, people on 5 Live were claiming that Artetas challenge was excessive…….EXCESSIVE!?!?!?! We were playing Stoke…..we get criticised normally for being soft, when one player shows some steel it’s EXCESSIVE…..

    It may have gone unnoticed previously but I hate Pulis, Stoke and everything they stand for!

  118. Gooner In Exile says:

    The thing that really posses me off about the “we are a small club and can’t compete” on top of the spending as pointed out above is the fact that I can’t remember a single player in recent years who has been taken off them by a bigger club, because no one wants them Tony, you buy footballing luddites.

  119. evonne says:

    GiE – “It may have gone unnoticed previously but I hate Pulis, Stoke and everything they stand for!” :) One would have to be damb, blind and deaf, or from Stoke to miss this fact

  120. Red Arse says:

    Morning People, :-)

    I thought, for what might have been a difficult debut game, that Nacho Man was very comfortable on the ball, composed and technical.

    I like the look of him.

    Of course, the Orcs did very little attacking so let’s see if the good start was his ‘norm’.

  121. 26may1989 says:

    @Exile: Agreed – in fact, while Pulis has spent lots on incoming players, my guess is his very high net spend is at least as much to do with his inability to sell players for much.

    And that is hilarious, that anyone called Arteta’s challenge excessive – it was a very good challenge, and not a patch on the physicality our opponents yesterday routinely show.

    @evonne: I agree, you have every right to be a lech! Carry on ogling!

  122. Red Arse says:

    The ‘heavy’ tackle on Owen by Mikel Arteta was non existent – he hardly touched Owen, and the resultant slapping resulted in Arsenal getting the free kick.

  123. Red Arse says:

    Memo to Owen:- Don’t mess with Jack!! :-)

  124. oz gunner says:

    @ GiE

    Szcz is just a modern day player who utilises compression clothing so therefore probably doesn’t need long sleeves. The compression clothing ‘skins’ (the same stuff Evonne made fun. Bike shorts :) ) When you apply compression to specific body parts in a balanced and accurate way, it accelerates blood flow. This gets more oxygen to your working muscles – and boosts your performance. Also helps repair the muscles. Better blood flow also helps your body to get rid of lactic acid and other metabolic wastes.

    A lot of football players use the tank top version underneath there uniforms.

  125. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    a small point I only noticed on a reply today. When a number of players went over to the ref and linesman after Podolski scored,Shawcross head butted Arteta , definite contact even though minimal.

  126. dandan says:

    Morning all looking forward to today’s post as did not see or hear the game, spent yesterday visiting a hospital in deepest Devon. Kelsey did our new man look a player

  127. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Pleased that’s out the way, and to win with a fortunate goal makes it even more satisfying.

    The interview with Pulis was farcical but expected. The journo’s who delight in provoking the urbane AW are too fearful of the aggressive Pulis to pull him up on the way his team plays.

    There is no surprise that Pulis doesn’t understand the offside rule. Fortunately for him, his team does.

  128. oz gunner says:

    @ Dandan

    Here you go

  129. oz gunner says:

    Arteta v Owen

  130. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all
    This match report thing is always such a drama, so much so that I wrote one last week having not even seen the game
    A solution needs to be found
    Copy paste headlines from every sunday paper?

  131. kelsey says:

    Morning dandan

    yes he looked quite composed but to be fair didn’t have much defending to do.

  132. dandan says:

    thanks oz off back to hospital will look later.

  133. LB says:

    Morning Oz

    Thanks for the 9.14, I learnt something there.

  134. kelsey says:

    That’s a pretty good match report,don’t you think ;)

  135. Gooner In Exile says:

    Oz that’s very interesting on the under shirt, I just thought they were thermals :)

  136. Mobile Mallard says:

    Fantastic pre match, BR.
    Even reading it so long after tha game, it’s excellent and sums the Orcs up perfectly. What a dire bunch they are.

  137. evonne says:

    I would write the report, but have to go out with the dogs.
    But here is a start:

    The duel between Arsenal and Stoke was exactly as everyone expected – tough and uncompromising fighting in midfield, many clashes in the air and convincing dominance of Arsenal. The opponents were defending until we scored. The game was very predictable with the result in favour of the good guys.

    Nobody expected 3 easy points; we all knew that our team would have give their best to overcome ruthless, boring Orcs. Our team did us proud – they did not try to force the ball into the net, they did not waste energies on futile attempts to derail the bus from up north. They showed patience and calculated determination to play their game rather than be reduced to the antifootball of Tony Pulis.

    The Gunners won the game fair and square I collected much needed and deserved 3 points.

  138. 26may1989 says:

    peaches, it won’t be a match report but having now watched most of the game, I do have some random thoughts that you could use. If that works for you, text me and I’ll mail something to you soon.

  139. LB says:

    I am not sure how anyone could make a judgement call on Nacho after his performance against Stoke.

    He played perfectly adequately; he had one shot with his right foot after which he was immediately accepted in the Gibbs, Santos club of being absolute rubbish with his weaker leg.

  140. 26may – you’re the man, I’ve texted you. Thank you

  141. Giroud did another one of his flicks over the defence to the left again. It works every time.

  142. Rasp says:

    Morning LB, I agree we didn’t see much of Nacho to be able to make a proper assessment, but there were a couple of good signs I think. He was positionally very good throughout the game and when he did get behind their fullback he delivered a pinpoint cross onto Giroud’s head.

  143. Rasp says:

    There is another piece of good news … apparently city are shipping out some of their deadwood :) in the summer and Na$ri is on the list.

  144. 26may1989 says:

    Have just mailed something to the arsenalnuts email, so some sort of reflection on the game should appear soon…..

  145. New Post everyone ………………

  146. 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.

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