Thug Tactics

January 12, 2015

After yesterdays game, and also from our last game against Stoke, it’s got me thinking about the dynamics of certain types of tactics. Intimidation and violent play now seem to be a part of the English game. We all talk about the English game being a physical one, but there is physical and there is violent. There is a distinction. Arnautovics push on Debuchy yesterday was violent, Charlie Adams strangle hold on Sanchez in our last meeting with Stoke was violent. Crouch uses his elbow as an offensive weapon against players when jumping for a ball. This is not physical play, but acts of violence.

This is how the BBC described the push against Debushy:

“The Frenchman, 29, landed heavily after colliding with Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic and was replaced by Hector Bellerin in the 13th minute at Emirates Stadium.”

After colliding, ffs, are they blind? The referees have to take some blame as well, they clearly failed to act on a couple of violent fouls yesterday and in our previous game against Stoke. So who is to blame? Does the manager instil a Thug mentality into his players during training and the pre match team talk? Or is it already a part of the players mentality? There are players who have that type of DNA, Joey Barton springs to mind, Shawcross as well. I can imagine managers like Mark Hughes capitalising on the aggressive nature of some players, telling them to target certain players, but do they actually incite violent play in their team? This is my question?

written by Northbank 1969

Redemption Song

January 11, 2015

6/12/14. The Potteries: The first half on the slime covered fields of Middle Earth was embarrassing. Three down to base level tactics, which must have been discussed endlessly during the week prior to the game, the players shamed their fans and their manager. Second half we were by far the better team and had we not been chopped by a homer referee we may well have won.

What infuriates more – their gigantic violent defence or their gigantic violent attack? Crouch should have been sent off for continual use of the elbow, Adams should have been imprisoned for GBH on Alexis. Anthony Taylor (the idiot ref) must be enjoying his new gold Rolex.


Anthony Taylor’s Nice Little Earner

11/1/15. A chance for the team to make reparations to both the fans and the manager.

Let’s start with the man who could be at the centre of the game, the referee, Jonathan Moss. In 17 games this season he has given out (why is a card always brandished?)  58 yellow and 7 red cards including sending off the miscreat Puncheon at The Emirates in August.

Stoke: On an unbeaten run which includes both us and MU. They cannot be under-estimated. But …. they are Orcs and have an odious manager. If the world was a fair and reasonable place, they would both be languishing in the lower regions of the Northern Premier League but it isn’t and Stoke continue to assault all who play them, aided and abetted by The Chief Orc, Sparky Hughes.

I don’t want to write about their players, they are all shitehawks apart from the diamond in the rough, Bojan – what is this superb, gifted player doing in Orc central? From the Nou Camp to the Britannia – the mind boggles and one can only hope he finds redemption come seasons end.

It has been raw weather this weekend which may prevent Stoke from playing hoofball but I doubt it. A couple of weeks ago West Ham sent in almost 60 long balls into our penalty area. That is one every 90 seconds!! Expect much of the same today.

Arsenal: The 7th cavalry are on the horizon as Ozil, Ramsey, Flamini etc return from injury. Walcott has had a run about and Giroud is off the naughty step. We have our first choice back five playing together for the second time this season. It augurs well


Proof Ozil exists

I wouldn’t start Ozil, Ramsey or even Theo; this is a game for fighters and men who are 100% fit. Why risk the returnees?

My team:


Debuchy     BFG     Koscielny    Gibbs

Ox    Flamini    Rosicky    Cazorla

Alexis   Giroud

Not much height or heft but much pace and ingenuity. If Santi and Alexis can continue their wonderful form the Orcs will be bamboozled. With Theo to fly past Bardsley for the final 20 minutes and Ozil to get perhaps 15, we should be set up for the trip  to the Champions next weekend.

Given Szczesny’s excellent judgement of the high ball at WHU he must start today; the aberrations of his Southampton performance should be forgotten and forgiven and  having Ospina on the bench will energise him.

A first league win in 2015 would be a boost especially given the Hapless Hotspurs loss and the disturbing improvement of Liverpool.

The first half at Stoke was our worst performance for many a season, this afternoon the team have a chance for redemption. Let it be so.


written by Big Raddy

Happy Xmas, The War is Over

December 7, 2014

I said in my yesterday morning comment that Stoke had the home advantage, and could beat us on the day, and so it proved. Of course it didn’t help that we have not won there for some considerable time, and i felt Stoke actually believed they could out muscle us as the surly did.

When looking to see where we went wrong, i don’t think you have to look further than the injury list to see where our weaknesses are. Many supporters are claiming that the manager is at fault because he didn’t buy more players in the transfer window, maybe there is a bit of credibility there, but i feel that when we look at who was not available, the transfer window is grasping at straws,

Many are now saying that Martinez was at fault and they now want TPIG back between the sticks , Personally i felt Martinez made one mistake all afternoon, when a fierce swerving shot went straight at him, it hit his mid drift and he struggled to grasp it but a goal never resulted. His cover let him down on all their goals and in my opinion he wasn’t at fault for any of them.

Koshielney Debuchy Arteta Wilshere Walcott Diaby Ozil Szezesney Ospina Monreal all out injured, Hardly the managers fault, that all these players are all out at the same time.

We can all find reasons why we should have defended better, or why our forwards miss what looks like easy chances, but we all have to admit, that having the injuries we have would certainly stop any team from playing consistent football. I believe the best Manager in the world would struggle with an injury list the same as ours.

Many are moaning that Jenks was loaned out now that we need a right back, but that is nonsense as we brought in Chambers for Jenks which allowed Jenks to get the Premier league experience which we all said he needed. We also brought Debuchey who looked to be a fine replacement for Sagna but of course injury halted him.

Now you know as well as me, that Chambers was never intended to be used every game of the season, Belerin also was supposed to only be used in cup games, but again injuries to first team players has resulted in being forced to use learning players.

Ramsey as we can see, has had a lack of form since he came back from injury, Wenger could never had predicted that, and with Ozil out and Arteta as well we have been forced to suffer Ramsey’s form, its not as if we have Wilshere to bulk up the midfield as he has long term injury as well.

Wenger must have believed that Diaby would have been playing by now as he has had a complete season out, but his half a game resulted in him picking up another injury. By this time in the season any manager would have expected to have most of his players to pick from, but as we know our players are rolling over in every game, but that is not because Wenger never brought in the transfer window.

It is quite evident to me that Koshielney is a key player for us, when he is not in place BFG has nightmares and of course the depleted team always need a reshuffle where our players are asked to play cover positions. We can only buy certain amounts of players in any window most teams are the same, but of course most teams do not have our injury problems.

At the end of the day we wanted Marquee players top quality Talent. We all know the restrictions we have been under for quite some years, but now we are buying players, but as i said we can still only buy what’s available on the market..

Wenger has stated that he believes we can win the league in the next three years. Had all our players been available since the start of the season, we could have won it this year, No ones fault Just fate that’s all, some thing we have had problems with for some time, but don’t be mistaken, we have the players now to win the league and possibly the Champions league as well ,but the secret is getting them all fit and Playing.

written by Steve P.

This is Rasp’s rant published earlier …..

Arsenal don’t plan to fail …. We fail to plan

I couldn’t get a stream to watch the game and so had to follow via BBC sport and blogsites – therefore I cannot comment on the specifics of the performance.

There are reports of poor refereeing, of Stoke getting away with wrestling our players to the ground, of us being outmuscled and of Arsenal getting soft yellows and a red whilst Stoke indulged in orchestrated rotational fouling that went largely unpunished …….. No s**t Sherlock!

If we don’t know by now what to expect from a game against Stoke then we may as well give up and try another sport. We play in the English Premier League, this type of ‘battling game’ is what makes it popular worldwide.

Arsene has to stop trying to be King Canute in domestic games, employ a bit of pragmatism and build a team that can stand up to the Stokes of this world.

As Rocky observed last night, the foundations of yesterday’s embarrassing defeat were laid when we failed to bring in defensive reinforcements in the summer and then failed to prepare a team for Stoke’s all too predictable onslaught yesterday.


Arsenal don’t plan to fail – we fail to plan

December 7, 2014

I couldn’t get a stream to watch the game and so had to follow via BBC sport and blogsites – therefore I cannot comment on the specifics of the performance.

There are reports of poor refereeing, of Stoke getting away with wrestling our players to the ground, of us being outmuscled and of Arsenal getting soft yellows and a red whilst Stoke indulged in orchestrated rotational fouling that went largely unpunished …….. No s**t Sherlock!

If we don’t know what to expect from a game against Stoke by now then we may as well give up and try another sport. We play in the English Premier League, this type of ‘battling game’ is what makes it popular worldwide.

Arsene has to stop trying to be King Canute in domestic games, employ a bit of pragmatism and build a team that can stand up to the Stokes of this world.

As Rocky observed last night, the foundations of yesterday’s embarrassing defeat were laid when we failed to bring in defensive reinforcements in the summer and then failed to prepare a team for Stoke’s all too predictable onslaught yesterday.



December 5, 2014

Look at the back page of yesterday’s Sun. Irresponsible, rabble-rousing and quite frankly hugely depressing evidence of stupidity of both the Sun and the Orcs.



If there is any truth in this foul discourse from the miscreant Shawcross then he has to be hit with a disrepute charge. It is rabble rousing at it’s worst and sets the agenda for the game.

Is there anywhere else on earth where the perpetrator becomes the victim? It makes my blood boil – which is exactly what the Sun is promoting :-(

As to the football – it becomes secondary; what will be the MotD focus? A lovely pass from Alexis or a vicious foul by an Orc or god forbid, one of our upstanding gentleman?

On the site this morning (amongst all the marvellous music and banter) someone said they would be happy to escape with a point and no injuries. I agree. Over and above the physical demands of playing the biggest team in world football in their own stinking cesspit we are up against a team who are playing well. Stoke were very unfortunate at Old Trafford where only a wonder save and an open-goal miss stopped them taking the points (can anyone who doesn’t believe in luck explain MU’s eternal good fortune?) and should have won at Anfield.

They have injuries, – so do we. We have intelligent, fast midfielders and forwards – they have Orcs moulded in factories in Kazakstan. They have a manager whose idea of a book is a yellow piece of cardboard – ours has the complete works of Proust in his office.

We have won only one of our last eight games at Stoke.

Onto other stuff. What do people eat in Stoke? My first thoughts ran along the lines of Orcs don’t need to eat but further research shows that even Devilspawn have to feed!  And to fill their flabby, white, ugly faces they turn to cholesterol fuelled foods  – Triple Big Macs and double fries, cream-filled doughnuts, twice-fried fish,  stray-dog curries, and the Orc favourite, Shawcross Pie (minced offal in suet). Washed down by a quart of Devil’s scrumpy.


Football is tribal, it is what I love about it. Even when watching games in the park I pick a side  – I bet you do as well. It is us against them but above all else it is a Sport. and sport must be played within the realms of “sporting conduct”. When imbeciles like Sun writers and Shawcross reduce our sport to the level in yesterday’s back page are allowed to go unpunished is further evidence that the sport I have loved all my life is being destroyed by money, greed and stupidity.

Rant Just Starting


written by Big Raddy

The Stoke Resurrection?

March 1, 2014

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).

My Team:


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

From Orcs to Swans?

September 22, 2013

Stoke City, 9 letters . Mark Hughes, 9 letters. One would think a match made in heaven. What is the significance of the number 9? According to Chinese belief the number 9 represents attainment and success; on a personal level it signifies leadership.

Only …. as the eagle eyed geniuses who read AA will have spotted Mark Hughes has 10 letters and the number 10 signifies a cheating, spiteful, ignorant, charmless man (thank you, Morrissey)

Those who regularly read my posts will know my feeling towards both these entities – I have written many Stoke PM’s and all have the same theme. Why? Because whereas I dislike Tottenham due to an accident of geography, my dislike of Stoke has developed thanks to it being an execrable club and town.

My first visit to the Potteries scarred me for life – a 5-0 loss.  A horrible town, a horrible game and a depressing drive South.  All in all, enough to elevate Stoke into the heady realms of the Premier League of my most detested teams, where they have stayed ever since.

Eventually Pulis arrived and they became Orcs. Now, the marriage with the odious Sparky Hughes – it could only get worse.

Or can it?

The rumours are that Stoke are playing football!! Can this possibly be true? Can a man whose football philosophy is entrenched in kick-the-man-not-the-ball really encourage the Beautiful Game? The stats suggest that this is so – an average of almost 400 passes per game, a massive reduction in crosses and long balls and a 79% passing accuracy . A footballing victory at WHU and a draw vs Man City show this is a team in form.

But are they really turning from ugly ducklings into swans? (source: Hans Christian Anderson 1861).  Is this the Shawcross Redemption? (too corny for a headline :-) )

A  positive stat is that The Odious One (henceforth TOO) has visited the Emirates as a manager of 5 different teams and has yet to win. Some record. How the hell does this bloke get a job? He has destroyed every team he has managed and been sacked on all but one occasion – the other being when he left a team in the lurch to go in search of “success” prior to being binned from City. TOO was sacked by relegated QPR last season and yet picked up another PL job!  And he has an OBE – certainly not for services to football!!

Arsenal:  Not much to write as the team almost picks itself. The injury list will ease over the next couple of weeks and we will finally see who Mr Wenger has in mind for his starting 11 –  I have no idea, but it is a luxury problem. We have quality throughout the squad.

My Team:

arse v orcs

How will TWOO (The Wizard of Ozil) cope with the kicking he will undoubtedly receive this afternoon? We have no Stevie Bould or TA6 to “remind” Stoke to behave. As such a strong referee is essential and today we have Mike Dean – not my favourite but highly experienced and fully aware of Stoke’s intimidating tactics. Let us hope he has a good game.

What I would like to see this afternoon is TWOO score his first Emirates goals (on his home debut)  and for TOO to spend the game cursing his players, cursing the referee, cursing Mr Wenger, cursing the very handsome Arsenal centre forward, cursing the gods and driving back on the coach cursing his own players. and in particular cursing the chief Orc, Ryan Shacwross.

Now that would go some way to redeeming Stoke City.


written by Big Raddy


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