Some time ago I made a decision to stop belittling our opponents. This was due to a rash of defeats to lesser team following an abusive prematch (yes, I have that much power). But sometimes needs must, plus I have to be realistic and accept my posts have no impact whatsoever of the result of the game.
So let’s get down to business.
Stoke: If there is a more miserable, wearisome, beetle-headed bunch of bum-baileys walking the planet then my name is Luther Blisset. Managed by a man who in the words of Oscar Wilde “has no enemies but is intensely disliked by his friends.” Stoke are the reason why the PL has slipped behind La Liga and the Bundesliga in world football. You do not find teams in La Liga who cannot play the ball on the ground or rely on set pieces in order to score.
Orcs in their natural habitat
Then there are their fans. Amplified to make the armchair viewer believe they can create an atmosphere, they reflect their team. Aggressive and hard to like. And, they hate us. Pulis thinks Wenger is impolite (!), their fans think Gooners are soft southern pansies and delight in calling our team wimps and cheats. We are the positive to their negative.
But can we beat them in what is an important game for us? One thing is certain, Stoke will give 100% and we will have to be at the top of our game to win. I think patience will be vital. Add in the Ramsey/Shawcross factor and there will be some genuine needle at the Britannia. We cannot respond to Stoke’s provocation – the early season stupidity of Gervinho and Song will cost us dear if they retaliate in what is sure to be a physical game; the Orcs (Huth, Whelan ,Whitehead, Shawcross + +) will ensure it. A strong referee is essential because it isn’t the stupid rash tackle that Stoke employ, it is the constant physical battle.
Crouch has scored his wonder goal for the season (and a brilliant goal it was), he has a good record against us as have Stoke. They have won 3 out of our previous 4 visits to the Britannia. Pulis believes he knows how to beat Wenger and our games are never less than highly competitive. Should we win, it will not be an easy ride – it never is up there.
You may look at my team and say “Chamakh? You’re having a Turkish” but I think we have to try something different. I would play RvP behind Chamakh, give Bennie the run of the left wing and swamp the midfield. The defence picks itself, as does the midfield (in light of the fragility of Diaby), though Coquelin is likely to get some pitch-time, if fit.
The obvious solution is to play O-C or Gervinho on the wing but given the loss of our speedster and Arteta, we could start the above team which would allow some flexibility. That said, we are most likely to start with a forward line of O-C, RvP and Bennie.
Stoke Inventor? There are a few as you would expect in any industrial area. Oliver Lodge invented the wireless telegraph, the electric spark plug and moving coil loudspeakers (according to Wiki). Whether he did or not is lost in the mists of time.
Surely, we have more than the long throw in?
Against opposition whose main ethic is unrelenting industry and teamwork, Arsenal have to respond in kind. We have yet to win in the PL without Arteta and today is the day to remedy this. Arsenal can win but it will be through endeavor, inspiration, unity and harmony.
Written by Big Raddy