Let’s start here – I hate Sparky and I hate Stoke. The two together are a match made in Hades but ….. and you may be surprised to read this I admire what they are trying to do this season. Hughes has taken the Orc mentality created by Pulis and attempted to teach these mutants to play football. As we saw at THOF to a certain extent he has succeeded.
Goals have been few and far between and as Stoke languish on 27 points and in 15 place the experiment could be said to be a work in progress but what about this? …. Stoke are bottom of the Fair Play League with 58 yellows and 3 Reds and have conceded the most fouls in the PL. Their top scorer is the beanpole Crouch with just 6 (Ramsey has more and has missed most of the season). Most assists? Probably Begovic
Play football? Don’t be fooled Raddy, Stoke remain Orcs led by a man who is Beezlebub in a suit. Nasty players, nasty fans and nasty manager.
So, how will we do against these barbarians? Stoke haven’t lost at the Britannia since September which is cause for concern. They have recently drawn with Southampton and ….. Oh, I can’t be bothered with this ….. Stoke are always difficult opposition for us because they, their fans and their manager hate us – just as we detest them.
The reaction of the fans and now their chairman to the Ramsey injury shows just how awful they are. Coates ludicrous attempt to defuse the situation was crass and insulting. Sadly, Aaron is unable to punish them today as he surely would.
Stoke: Walters, Crouch, Adams, Odemwinge etc dull, dull, dull dull. Only player with any grace is Begovic who has a habit of wasting time until we go ahead. Shawcross’s partner in crime, Robert Huth, that fine upstanding behemoth who flattened Gnabry within seconds of his first PL appearance, is out with some sort of hardware malfunction. No doubt Hughes has another mutant to replace him.
Arsenal: Ozil returns but in place of whom? Can we afford to drop Rosicky given his excellent form? Dare we go into the game with only one striker (Giroud) and drop Podolski?
In my opinion, this is a game for Ozil to miss. It’s a game for players who can take a battering and give something back. Not sure Mesut is that type of player. I would be tempted to play the same team which destroyed Sunderland, (apart from the inclusion of Vermaelen).
Sagna BFG TV Monreal
Flamini JW Arteta Rosicky
Cazorla Giroud Podolski
Not in that formation obviously, but doing their usual mix and match stuff. Pace will be important and I expect to see our speedsters on during the second half. Maybe give Sanogo a run out.
Stoke Upon Trent. Originally named Stoc, the name comes from Old English and means “place with a church”, apparently so many villages and meadows were called Stoc that the words Upon Trent were added to distinguish it from the primordial swampland in the Midlands – you know the place where Shawcross emerged from. The village developed because it was on the Roman road between Derby and Chesterton .
By the 13th century coal mining was the main industry but in the 17thC pottery became the main source of income. Wedgwood, Spode, Minton and Royal Doulton moved into the area as Stoke became the most famous pottery and china producer in the world. In later times Michelin tyres were centred in Stoke employing over 9,000 Orcs.
Can we win? This is going to be a difficult game. No Hughes team leaves the field without bruising the opposition and today will be no exception. Stoke’s home record is good and despite their lowly league position they have taken points off the best and beat Man Utd at the Potteries just a few weeks ago. A return to the defensive parsimony, a fast start and some crisp passing interplay will do the job.
March is our toughest test, a win today would set the team up nicely for the more difficult games ahead, but I take nothing for granted – sometimes Orcs win battles but never the war.
Written by BigRaddy