From Orcs to Swans?

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

237 Responses to From Orcs to Swans?

  1. Morning all

    Super excited to be off to the Ems today, looking forward to seeing our TWOO running around and causing mayhem, I’m expecting a lot of noise 🙂

  2. Räsp says:

    Great start to match day Raddy, thanks. If they try top play football we should beat them, if they try to close us down quickly we should run rings round them, if they try to kick us out of the game only the ref can protect us ….. let’s hope they go for one of the first two.

  3. evonne says:

    Shawcross Redemption – fan-tas-tic 🙂 TOO and TWOO similar, but Worlds apart.

    Very good PM Raddy, thank you very much. Never despised Stoke until the GBH on Ramsey, but now I am as passionate as you about them. Mark Hughes was a good footballer, but I’d agree with you that he is a crap mananger. I don’t think Stoke won any of their last 5 visits to the Ems, so let’s hope it will be the 6th for us.

    But it won’t be easy, it never is with Stoke. If they cannot play the team, they will park a bus and try to catch us on counter. Sadly, it seems to work for them this season.

    Anyway, we are a far superior team and player for player comparison would only put Begovic ahead of Szcz. Hopefully Wojtek is going to have a good game today.

    Thanks BR and have fun all of you attending

  4. Northbank Lew says:

    Glad to see the stats column back. Let’s hope it continues to make good reading !!

  5. kyawmgmgtun says:

    sagna par ko gibbs
    Ramsay arteta
    walcott ozil wal

  6. Great post BR where do I start.
    Mark Hughes was Wales manager once upon a time and he used the bus tactic we got now were.
    Great player but not a great manager very negative and very defensive.
    I’m looking forward to seeing özil for the first time live and I can have a beer well a few beers as I’m off tomorrow .
    I can smell a win for us I’m going to go for 3-0 I’m confident we can beat poke.

  7. arnie says:

    Pretty good, BR. Stoke is never easy, as Evonne says, but we will nick it in the end by a couple of goals. The trick is in not managing to concede any goals by about the 70th minute. And then when their legs are too tired even for kicking, let alone try to play football, ram a couple in. Go on the Arsenal!!!!

  8. Bïg Räddy says:


    Either you have 10 players and two Walcott’s or we have signed a new player called wal.

    How can you drop Cazorla? The man is a genius.

  9. arnie says:

    Chary: fantastic post yesterday. My apologies I could not spend time on AA, but I enjoyed immensely the post and the discussion. I have some views on the balance between idolatry and excessive criticism, both immensely harmful in itself. Belonging as I do to the Arsenist side, rather than the Arsonist one, I am plan to write an apology post on Arsene Wenger, and the cult of the anti-hero. But that is for some time in the future, not now. Anyway, great fun. Thanks

  10. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    A very good preview BR, and it raises a question that has always puzzled me, in what other line of work would a serially sacked employee like TOO still find a mug willing to not only employ him but also pay him obscene amounts of money in wages and, moreover, trust him to spend even more dosh buying players who are themselves mostly on the shelf.

    That said it’s back to today’s game, in view of the Orc’s propensity to assault and maim members of the opposition it might be an idea to remove one obvious target from the line of fire by playing Emmanuel Frimpong in place of Jack Wilshere.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how Mersut Ozil copes with a home debut and his first experience of playing against the horrible TOO’s horrible

  11. Norfolk Gooner says:

    BR, I think kyawmgm, left Cazorla out because he’s injured….as did you. 😀

  12. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Please add the word “team” to the end of my 10.43.

  13. arnie says:

    Arteta is available. Arteta for Flamster, 70 mins?

  14. arnie says:

    I tried to check up on the “contributions” that led to the OBE in 2004. It turns out that TOO received an OBE for his services as a shepherd, leading Welsh lambs to the slaughterhouse in an organised way during 2001-2004. This was before the likes of our own Rambo and the ape-man Bale started threatening to convert lambs into men – Frankenstein style – very scary!!!!!

  15. dandan says:

    Smashing Write up Raddy. Memories 5 – 0 at the Potteries, went to just about every game that season in our faithful Ford Escort, we set off that day confident of another win, but the car was psychic somewhere outside Luton on the M1 the head gasket went, steam everywhere and a whole load of stop. Towed to a Garage we listened to the game on Radio. Clubbed together to have our trusty steed mended and drove home in a much more sombre mood.

    Mr Hughes a scorer of great goals not a great footballer, remember how Cesc wound him up by asking if this is how you played at Barcelona?

    Given a fair ref we will win this afternoon and look down on the premier league for the second time this season.

  16. nice article mate 🙂

  17. arnie says:

    Last year, we slipped against Stoke at home. This year, he have already exhausted our quota of slipping at home (against Villa), so really have to win this.

    On other matters, Rambo vs Shawcross is a sombre thought!!!!

  18. arnie says:

    Bendtner on the bench? can someone please confirm … interesting …. oh dear!!!!!

  19. Bïg Räddy says:

    Norfolk. You are right, I misinterpreted his comment.

    DD. I agree about TOO. Both he and Shearer had the sly foul down to an art; the back of the ankle kick, the sly elbow, the shin rake, the arse stuck out so the CB jumping for the header will land on his back.

    But he was good at the volley.

  20. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, fine pre match Raddy, once Stoke fired Pulis I was genuinely hoping they would appoint someone who wouldn’t just look at height for his team selection (allegedly when any player was mentioned to Pulis the first question was is he taller than 6ft.

    Is anyone else like me surprised at Özil’s height? I thought he was a diminutive player but that appears to be only when in possession he is much taller than I remember (but I know for us height is very much relative 😀 )

    Whilst Hughes hasn’t beaten us at home he has found our weaknesses away from home with City, QPR and even Blackburn, he aims to frustrate by not allowing space in behind, intimidate in possession my sending one or two to harry the man in possession and then finally hit on the counter.

    We can’t over commit we must keep a clean sheet or at least get ahead.

  21. LB says:

    I reckon Wenger will start with Arteta and switch to the Flamster on 70 mins.

    Thanks for the pre-match BR.

  22. arnie says:

    LB: I would have thought start with Flamster, mainly because of match fitness, but switch around from next game onwards. But, we will know soon.

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    Fine pre match Raddy,

    I wonder if Hughes has made friends anywhere in his coaching career, certainly not with clubs owners or their fans, if not them then who? = Nobody.

    I will only get to see the first 20 minutes of today’s game then I’m off south for 3/4 weeks. There will only be minimal internet and electronics in the area so It’s unlikely that I will be able to communicate on line or even watch any games until I return, not that I will be missed.

    Take care everybody and I hope to find us on top when I return.

  24. GN5 you are wrong, SAF made friends with Hughes, well at least Hughes thought they were best buddies, i wonder how many of those managers who thought they were good friends with SAF have heard from him since he no longer needs them for a few results.

  25. Gööner In Exile says:

    Apparently Hughes said in a pre match interview that he thinks AW will quit if he doesn’t win a trophy this season…….WTF do you know Sparky? Back in your box now.

  26. GunnerN5 says:

    Sparky makes me think of a wet fuse…………waiting to light……….but never quite makes it….

  27. arnie says:

    I think the bench is looking better than previous weeks, with Verms, Arteta and Bendy (yes, Bendtner) in there. But all eyes on Ozil, …..

  28. arnie says:

    Pretty good feature and interview with Özil on Sky …..

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    TEAM NEWS: Wenger names unchanged team

    Arsène Wenger has named an unchanged team from the midweek win over Marseille in the Champions League.

    Mesut Ozil makes his home debut and will operate behind loan striker Olivier Giroud. Mikel Arteta is named on the bench along with Nicklas Bendtner.

    Emiliano Viviano is also amongst the substitutes, replacing Lukasz Fabianski who sustained an injury in training on Saturday.

    Team in full: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud.

    Subs: Viviano, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Arteta, Gnabry, Bendtner

    Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted s

  30. dandan says:

    IMHO Gnabry is a star in the making and will be an integral part of the Squad by season end. Probably joined by another German Striker/Defender in Jan.

  31. arnie says:

    Walcott out, Gnarby on …..

  32. arnie says:

    Anyone know what happened to Theo?

  33. dandan says:

    I wrote that before he was included today, Hope I am right 🙂

  34. Sav from Australia says:

    Nice pre-match write-up.

    Eager to see the team in action but wary of Mike ‘the mechanic’ Dean (because he ‘fixes’ things…get it?).

    10 minutes to kick-off!

  35. dandan says:

    Arnie Theo Unwell

  36. arnie says:

    DD: I have great hopes on Gnarby as well. Today will be big for him, let us see. But I hope Theo is not serious …..

  37. Gööner In Exile says:

    Going to be really interesting now I am not so sure Serge is a wide man? So we could end up needing both full backs to provide the width, with Theo out today may have been the day to go three at the back…and use Jenks and Gibbs more advanced.

    My guess is Giroud is carrying a knock so NikB with PL experience a more robust solution than Akpom against the Orcs.

    Wouldn’t mind betting Theo was a last minute match fitness test, and Arsene felt he shouldn’t be risked, I do hope he wasn’t “injured in the warm up” because that intimates the warm up didnt do it’s job!

    Bench certainly looking healthier with Arteta, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson we have four we know can do a job.

  38. mickydidit89 says:

    No Ryo on the bench
    Guess we’re expecting a tough game and not to be two up with ten to play.

    Can’t be “in the boozer” for the game.

    Thanks for PM BR

    On later tonight

    Up the Gunnnnnners

  39. evonne says:

    could do with Leyton Baines now

  40. arnie says:

    ramsey….. goal

  41. evonne says:

    how needs Baines 🙂

  42. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raaaaaaaamboooooooooo Have that Orcs!

    Anyone else’s Sky HD down?

  43. arnie says:

    Gnabry doing OK so far …

  44. arnie says:

    cameron … goal. game on

  45. Rasp says:

    Charlie Adam really is a horrible player …. he’s found the right club to suit his ability.

  46. arnie says:

    what s the defense doing. Jones in again, narrow escape….

  47. Big Raddy says:

    Two bad bounces- the first off Gibbs and we concede. Poor goal after we started so well.

    We are missing Theo. Gnabry should be tighter to his wing

  48. arnie says:

    Yes, the wing is light. Gnabry is not strong enough

  49. Gööner In Exile says:

    Agreed Raddy, something in our mentality that says score….them sit. Need to see us go for jugular a bit more.

  50. arnie says:

    BFG, goal…. from the corner this time

  51. Gööner In Exile says:

    The Bromace continues Özil to BFG

  52. Big Raddy says:

    I love BFG. Lovely goal

  53. arnie says:

    OK, pack the defense a bit more this time

  54. Gööner In Exile says:

    Gnabry definitely not a winger, close control has been superb.

  55. arnie says:

    job half done. two other matters I liked first half. 1. Boos every time Shawcross got the ball, and 2. support for Gnabry from supporters

  56. arnie says:

    I think Gnabry is playing inside right, but the right wing is left a bit empty

  57. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Even if he weren’t a winger AW would be sure to play him there 🙂

    OG looks a totally different player this season – he is becoming an excellent CF. Good in the air, good at hold up play, always looking to bring others into the game, and prepared to shoot on sight. Amazing what confidence can do.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    Arnie. Agree. The fans very good today

  59. Gööner In Exile says:

    Indeed Arnie it is good to hear that support for the youngsters, something that has ebbed away recently. For me youngsters should be exempt from the boo boys until at least 21/22.

    Problem is we start them so young we forget just how young some of our lads are.

    Özil has had a confidence boost on the fans, also the players, some of the passes have been a tad risky things we would have thought brilliant when done by the Invincibles are still bringing gasps of uncertainty from the watching masses.

  60. evonne says:

    both our goals from set pieces, are you watching DidIt?

  61. saikirthiSai says:

    Experience tells me, the incredulous loosers Barcelona would come out sniffing fro Ramsey soon. We should let them know he has a good 4 years of contract with us and ask them to buzz off!s

  62. arnie says:

    Yes, agree, Raddy and GiE. Giroud has been very good today in hold up play, and in carrying two defenders with him all along. He was certainly instrumental in the second goal. It all started with a freekick that he earned.

    Linkup upfront has been a bit patchy. It seems where players are expecting others they are not to be found.

    A bit of lack of coordination at the back as well. Maybe, players pushing up too much? I wont mind Flamster playing a more DM role rather than at the edge of the opposition box

  63. arnie says:

    i love this guy, Gnabry. another shot just now

  64. arnie says:

    Gnabry brilliant to Giroud, good chance, good save

  65. Sai says:

    Gnabry has covered a lot of ground today. But Walcott should walk into the team any time for his pace and experience. But the kis is certainly doing a good job! It seems, if it has to be a goal, it should mean an Ozil assist.

  66. arnie says:

    nothwithstanding the robust challlenge from Huth… surely a yellow in Europe, not even a foul in the EPL

  67. Sai says:

    Giroud has been physically targeted today. He’s been quietly doing a good job. Expect a goal from him today as well.

  68. Sai says:

    Giroud’s missing hid scoring boots for sure! He’s had a couple of great chances in ten minutes or less.

  69. arnie says:

    Yes, Giroud’s hold up play has been fantastic, earned a lot of freekicks, and now he is put thriugh by Ozil, and over…..

  70. Sai says:

    Another set piece in a promising position! Ozil adds another element to out game surely. Stoke are doing well to slow down the pace of the game. It’s going to be an edge of the seat affair unless we score another!

  71. arnie says:

    Great save Szcz, just after Ozil shoots straight at Begovic

  72. Sai says:

    Really impressed with Gnabry’s work rate. Lovely play from Wilshire. This is end to end stuff now! Great stop by Scezny.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    We have gone to sleep. Need to up the tempo.

  74. Sai says:

    Wondering what subs Arsene has in his mind. Will he go for attact or try and defend the slender lead we have!

  75. Big Raddy says:

    No yellow for Nzonzi despite him making 5 nasty fouls. Come on Dean – shape up.

  76. Sai says:

    Yes Raddy, there is no pace in the game. Don’t see anyone warming up from our side. Not shown on TV at least. We need a change maybe to up the tempo.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Sai, he should attack but on past evidence we will see Monreal on 75 mins

  78. arnie says:

    Going to sleep at the back as well, oh dear, luckily Szcz was alert this time ….

  79. Sai says:

    Hope we are not screwed up by the ref! We’ve won just two games out of 18 featuring Mike Dean I heardcthem say!

  80. Gööner In Exile says:

    Need to get on front foot rather than trying to play on counter , Arteta would be useful about now to get foot on the ball and direct traffic

  81. Sai says:

    Fresh legs needed Arsene!

  82. Gööner In Exile says:

    3 set pieces!!!!!

  83. arnie says:

    There should be a few openings as Stoke try to push up… and on teh spot, Sagna, from Ozil’s freekick…. goal …..

  84. Sai says:

    I saw Stoke practice Karate moves while we were practicing on the ball and hour and a half ago! Sagna!!!! And guess what, it’s Ozil aggain on assist!

  85. Gööner In Exile says:

    So is that 3 Özil assists today?

  86. Big Raddy says:

    3 set plays 🙂

  87. Sai says:

    Three out of three assists for Ozil. Ryo should indeed have fresh legs. Not sure if it should have been Wilshire instead of Sagna off for Monreal. Wenger would not have guessed the goal when he decided the subs.

  88. arnie says:

    Wilshere took a knock, I think Monreal should be OK. Miyachi for Gnabry is also good.

  89. Sai says:

    Oh, my mistake. it was indeed Wilshire Arnie. Thought Sagna was off!

  90. arnie says:

    Loved the wry smile on BFG after clipping Walters’ heel

  91. arnie says:

    Arteta on for Ozil, allows Mesut to get a standing ovation, a few boos as well, I wonder from whom?

  92. Big Raddy says:

    RVP has a thigh strain, hope it lasts the season

  93. evonne says:

    van Judas injured 🙂 No, GM, not a broken leg 😦

  94. arnie says:

    BR: Agree, and the next season as well, all life …..

  95. Sai says:

    Great game Ozil! Most teams will think twice before committing fouls on our players with a player like him!

  96. evonne says:

    you are evil Raddy

  97. arnie says:

    Joachim Low would have been a happy man, all three Germans have done very well today

  98. Big Raddy says:

    Come on Arsenal. We are sitting so deep and making no attempt to attack. OG the only player in Stoke’s half

  99. Sai says:

    If that news is true Raddy, wonder where Manure will finish this season! Fergie would have known he loves treatment tables when he was hired. Gollum will rely on a certain Orc more than ever now.

  100. Sai says:

    Arnie, Low wouldn’t have guessed Gnarby’s fortune today. A bonus for him surely.

  101. arnie says:

    come on, push up Arsenal, time still for another one….

  102. arnie says:

    yes, absolutely right, Sai

  103. Sai says:

    Top of the table we shall stay! Just anther 34 games left.:)

  104. Sai says:

    Absolutely, nothing to loose. We can fire all guns in ET. Dean, finally pulls a second card, this time on Ireland. Myiachi clearly lacks any confidence, understandably though!

  105. Sai says:

    Fine tackle from Ryo! Ramsey should have burried it, surely for the form he is in at the moment.

  106. arnie says:

    Job well done

  107. Gööner In Exile says:

    Where are we in the League?

  108. Big Raddy says:

    Very nice. Another 3 points in the bin & ToTL.

    Not vintage but good enough.

    Thanks for the points TOO.

  109. Sai says:

    And they said Ozil will miss the arrogant blokes at Bernabau to make as many as assist with us. Proving them wrong already.

  110. Big Raddy says:

    C’mon Cardiff.

  111. arnie says:

    Asked in the Sky interview what he enjoyed more, to score or to create, Ozil said: both are important for the team, but personally he enjoys creating goals more. Lovely interview actually, quite a bit in English as well

  112. arnie says:

    Come on Cardiff, indeed……

  113. Sai says:

    They’ve started pre-match for Manure derby already. Right Raddy about Big Sir Robin. He has a thigh problem he picked up in training yesterday. But sadly, it doesn’t sound too bad. Not in the mood for the boring stuff. It’s dinner time in India! Celebration time now for me.

  114. Sai says:

    Michael Owen on the mic, says they’re not sure how bad BSR’s injury is. Shouldn’t be too many games he says though.

    Hope they broadcast post-match from our game. Any links would be much appreciated 🙂

  115. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy I think if we can grind out a few results like that until mid October we really will start showing some belief.

    7 wins on the trot all competitions.

    Now who wants to win a trophy that desperately that they think we should put out a full strength squad midweek? Surely with current injuries and workload we can rest the big names?

    Maybe Viviano, Ryo, Gnabry, Arteta, Jenkinson, Monreal, Vermaelen, NikB could start, sprinkling of youth team round them, Eisfield, Frimpong? Wouldn’t be a bad side, who to partner TV at centre back?


  116. Sai says:

    Yeah, right Arnie. Spuds sticking with us in the table stinks. BFG’s interview at last! says Ozil has 2 assists! I thought he had all three. Oops, first assist wasn’t Ozil’s indeed.

  117. Sai says:

    GIE, that’s a complete squad without our first choice! Mix up some experience with that and it’s good enough.

  118. Gööner In Exile says:

    Today’s game was a bit like watching Andy Murray at Wimbledon this year, a bit too easy, too expected, not sure I’m used to it 😀

    Alan Smith pissed me off though….mainly because he was talking up a Stoke comeback rather than realising how we were trying to get a third by playing on the counter (albeit poorly), giving MotM to Flamini, when it probably should have been BFG, and finally for these two comments:

    “Maybe it’s because Jack Wilshere isn’t fully fit that he is struggling to avoid the contact” after commentator suggested Stoke were targeting him.

    “That’s the kind of tackle you have to expect in the Premier League” after Huth cleaned out Gnabry with a body check.

    On both counts Smudger why are you forgiving the foul? They shouldn’t expect it and they shouldn’t have to avoid contact. This is precisely why the English national team remains ten yards behind the rest, EPL media and fans think fouling is part of the game.

  119. Sai says:

    Great time everyone. It’s getting late here where I live. Wonderful night!

  120. Gööner In Exile says:

    Surely first assist was Özil’s Sai? Can’t give it to Begovic surely? Oh Begovic the keeper everyone wanted Arsene to sign……remember this goal to see why he is no better than Szczesny.

  121. Gööner In Exile says:

    Sai hopefully you’ll have great news in the morning, 20 man brawl in the Manc derby and a draw, and a Cardiff win.

  122. RockyLives says:

    Lots to be pleased about.

    Fine performances all round the team. I thought Ramsey, Ollie, Kozzer, Merts, Szcz and Gibbs were the stand-outs but everyone played well.

    Very encouraging game from Gnabry. He’s not a winger, but he’s got the makings of a fine player.

    Even a nice cameo from Ryo, who looked sharp and dangerous (in his last couple of cameos he looked a bit uncertain).

    And We Are Top Of The League I Said…

  123. IanRealGunner says:

    Best bit was watching Rambo’s celebration in front of the Orcs in the corner (finger to lips)

  124. RockyLives says:

    Super PM BR – I always love your Orc-bashing efforts. You’re a veritable Gandalf 🙂

  125. RockyLives says:

    Er… let me have a look GiE…

    Oh yeah…


  126. RockyLives says:

    I fancy a Man Citeh win in the Manc derby. A few bad results and I could see the wheels start to come off for Gollum.

  127. fatgingergooner says:

    How many teams will score 3 set piece goals against Stoke this season?

    Proof that we are no longer a team full of tippy tappy short arses! We are a group of men who battle for everything. Yes Stoke have changed styles, but they still love to kick lumps out of people and are giants in the air. Very pleased that we beat them at their own game today, old style and new style.

  128. arnie says:

    GiE: Agree 100% on the physical side of the English game. “This is precisely why the English national team remains ten yards behind the rest, EPL media and fans think fouling is part of the game”. Somehow society seems to think that the place to fulfil the social need for violence is the football pitch, not WWE. No improvement until this attitude changes

  129. RockyLives says:

    It’s definitely three assists for TWOO.

    If Ozil doesn’t hit that shot so well, Begovic doesn’t spill it into the danger area and Aaron doesn’t score…

  130. Rasp says:

    I’m giving Ozil 3 assists in my widget unless there is an official stat to the contrary.

    Looks like I may have to pay that wily bugger 26May £10 for his top of the league bet …. that’s a tenner well spent 🙂

  131. Adrian says:

    By definition assists don’t count if they’re from rebounds if I’m not mistaken.

  132. RockyLives says:

    Were you at the game Rasp?

    The atmosphere sounded good, even when the Orcs equalized.

  133. RockyLives says:

    I’m not sure of the definition – you may be right.
    Morally it’s an assist though 🙂

  134. Rasp says:

    Afraid not Rocky, I’m at work 😦 My daughter went and she likes a modest bet and asked me what I thought the score would be … I said 3:1 to the good guys and she placed the bet …. £66 very nice ….. and then she found she had ticked the wrong box 😦

  135. arnie says:

    what a goal, Aguerro, assist by that p…… Nasri

  136. RockyLives says:

    Bummer, on both counts

  137. RockyLives says:

    Great goal from Citeh

  138. This City v United game is setting up lovely for the 20 man brawl

  139. “My daughter went and she likes a modest bet”

    Not to be confused with LB’s modesty bets 😀

  140. Talking of bets who took up 26Mays bet about being top of the league by a given time?

    (I can’t remember what the month was end of October?)

  141. Norfolk Gooner says:

    From orcs to swans? Nah! Ugly ducklings more like!

    Job done! A pretty low key game, I think we did enough without over exerting ourselves. Smiffy’s decision on MotM definitely correct, Flamini was excellent in his play AND he’s a great organiser.

    Gnabry looks a very good prospect but in the first half he was wandering all over the pitch and was leaving the right wing bare and exposing Sagna a bit. The lad certainly won’t be knocked off the ball too easily.

    Did you say we are top of the league Rocky? 😀

  142. fatgingergooner says:

    Never seen a United team lack creativity in midfield as much as this one does.

  143. fatgingergooner says:

    Now I know why Ashley Young dives all the time….cos he’s crap at everything else!

  144. arnie says:

    yaya toure… 2-0

  145. Could be a massacre!

  146. arnie says:

    good old fashioned brawl, though. not such a pretty sight

  147. arnie says:

    cardiff still holding on ….

  148. Must say I can see why everyone rated Fellaini so highly……….£27m? Özil only £15m more……Cazorla £9m less…..Jack £27m less……Rambo £23m less.

    Many ROLFs

  149. Bloody ell Cardiff vs Spuds:

    Shots 1 vs 14.

    Alamo in the Welsh capital come on Cardiff

  150. RockyLives says:

    Well said GiE
    Fellaini’s OK and he adds height and strength but he’s not technically good enough to play for the Mighty.

  151. arnie says:

    The only reason Fellaini is there is to try and change the balance of opinions in the dressing room…. Gives way really the trouble that Moist is in …. serves ManUre right, for not being aggressive and choosing a more high profile successor to Sir Alex ….

  152. arnie says:

    I know we all promised to support Moist in his dark days … ha ha ha

  153. arnie says:

    GiE: that reads like stats from the Manchester derby….

  154. Big Raddy says:

    Quite happy to see MU hammered by a team which was fortunate to draw with a Stoke team whom we beat without playing well

  155. Big Raddy says:

    And MU have their 12th man. HW.

  156. fatgingergooner says:

    Apparently Lloris should’ve had a red after 5 minutes for hand ball but ref didn’t give it

  157. arnie says:

    3-0 carnage

  158. Moyes working his magic in the half time team talk

  159. arnie says:

    4-0. yo ho ho

  160. Big Raddy says:

    MU bring on the attacking threat of Cleverly – Moist is out of his depth.

    But he has my full support. 4-0!

  161. Cardiff City fans are singing to spurs
    Your just a bus stop in arsenal LOL

  162. Big Raddy says:

    My goodness FFBW is an ugly man

  163. Right what are the odds for a real mauling?

  164. kefentse says:

    4-0 lovely 😀

  165. arnie says:

    Great fun, Sheep!!!!!

  166. arnie says:

    this is a game of headless chicken

  167. arnie says:

    cardiff still holding on

  168. arnie says:

    finally a shot on target, and it is Fellaini, good save Hart

  169. evonne says:

    4 nil, fabulous
    Chary and GM must think it is Christmas

  170. Adrian says:

    My word manchester city looks good. As much as i hate to admit this, I’d say they have the best shot at winning the league this season.

  171. arnie says:

    Adrian: Man U look woeful, and despite all our support, Moist is doing us a disservice by conceding so many goals. Artificially boosts the Shitty goal difference. Yes, Shitty looks to be our only competition this year, but thats about it!!!! ha ha ha

    I’m loving my optimism!!!!

  172. arnie says:

    Cardiff still holding on …..

  173. Gööner In Exile says:

  174. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie I laugh at your optimism, I’m backing a late Cardiff winner…..that’s optimism

  175. arnie says:

    yes, GiE, that would be lovely, icing on the cake……

  176. arnie says:

    But, you have to agree GiE, ManUre have no business conceding so many to Shitty, despite all our support

  177. arnie says:

    Lovely freekick Rooney. 4-1

  178. arnie says:

    Gunnarsson blazes over from short range … what a pity!!!! go on Cardiff!!!!!

  179. Agree Arnie, not sure they were defending the first 5 minutes of the second half

  180. JanMan says:

    First off thanks for a great post Big Raddy. Today was a well deserved win for the boys but for sure not a great performance although seeing it was our third game in a week, no complaints. It was a very tough midweek away CL game and we are always slow after one of those sort of games. The difference now compared to previous seasons is that we can play the likes of Stoke and win, last year that would have been a tie or possible loss. Özil had a hand in all three goals and I feel there is so much more from him to come. I cannot say enough good things about young Ramsey, he is our most improved player. Also what a good buy Flamini was, he does everything asked of him. Again, well done the lads, another three points and top of the league.
    Looks as though Man United are going to struggle after the retirement of old red nose. Moyes is a good manager but United may be a step to far for him.

  181. Gööner In Exile says:

  182. arnie says:

    Spurs have scored. f…… flying figs!!!!!!!!

  183. arnie says:

    4 mins of stoppage time at Cardiff. what a disgrace!!!!!

  184. arnie says:

    just a little bit of dampener on an otherwise most agreeable week, capped by a fantastic weekend

  185. LB says:

    I am working on the basis that tomorrow being Monday and Monday being the domain of the Rock Star; I will not be needed, so I am going to pour myself a glass of wine.


    Today was the first time I have seen Flamini in the flesh and I now get it; he was rightly called MOTM.

    BFG is a good shout but I think the Frenchman shaded it.

  186. JanMan says:

    Damn it, the Spurs win has just ruined my Sunday!

  187. r0blucci says:

    BREAKING: Manchester United have released Howard Webb on a free transfer.

  188. Big Raddy says:

    AVB gets Fergie time. Bum

  189. RockyLives says:

    Not so fast old son 🙂
    When there’s a Sunday game I usually do the Tuesday Post…

  190. LB – the rockstar would happily keep his thoughts to himself until Tuesday if you want to write a match report………or am I too late.

  191. Shame spuds won we did as well and man poo lost .
    Swansea next up I’ve actually got a ticket for the game next Saturday .
    In the Swansea end but I’ll take it
    we will beat Swansea I was close today I said 3-0!
    Ramsey scored yet again

  192. Gööner In Exile says:

  193. dandan says:

    Interesting comment from today’s Times………………. Özil, provider of all three, was rewarded with a standing ovation as he left the pitch. He had done, with three swings of his boot, to Stoke what they have done to so many. Not simply that, though. He had proved, too, that this Arsenal are a different proposition to all that have gone before.

  194. r0blucci says:

    Note of caution… “@oilysailor: Six of United’s 13 PL titles have seen them win only two of their opening five games.”

  195. dandan says:

    Oh dear tim there is no pleasing some folks is there.

  196. RockyLives says:

    “Tim” is the troll. Funny how half hearted his efforts have become of late 🙂

  197. Räsp says:

    Terrific result today. I hope Theo is not out for long as we missed his pace on the counter attack. I thought Gnabry did really well but he is not a winger.

    I’ve just updated the widgets and realised that the ‘Fixtures compared’ stats show that in the like for like games we won all 6 last season – so no room for complacency. The Swans away next week will be a tough test.

  198. mickydidit89 says:

    Fabulous three points.

    There is an alarming pattern of me missing games, and three points being added to our total!

    Fair points about the like for like (and a damn good reason why people like me need a “Predictometer” 🙂 ) but, it’d be very difficult to argue that this settled side won’t be better than last terms’ vintage given the additions of Ozil and Flamini.

    We will win more games than we did last season is my feeling.

  199. LB says:

    I’ve got the player ratings done. Unless anyone else fancys writing a report I will try to finish in the morning. Too tired now.

  200. mickydidit89 says:

    Face it, everything about the club is utter rubbish.
    Just deal with it eh

  201. RASP says:


    Sod the match report. The ratings will be fine and a good starting point for a chat.

    Now, start to drink heavily 🙂

  202. Big Raddy says:

    Strange that Spurs have only played one decent team and we have yet to meet one

  203. Looks like we may have lost LB to the red wine so does anyone else fancy writing their thoughts of the match for a post tomorrow?

  204. Oooops, you all sorted it while I was writing my comment 😳

    I’ll shut up now 😆

  205. Omg Downton Abbey ……….

  206. Räsp says:

    😆 Micky, I hope LB doesn’t take your impersonation of me too seriously

  207. arnie says:

    This guy is not bad. Check this out:

  208. Shärd says:

    Been busy today, though I obviously watched the game. Saw the Manchester Derby too.Good fun.

    Not a brilliant game, but seeing as fatigue must be a factor, it was a performance that makes me very happy. Out-Stoking Stoke was a bonus, and shows our versatility. I must focus on Flamini’s performance more when I watch it again because apart from a few incidents, I didn’t really see the Motm Performance people are calling it. Pleased to see him do well though.

    Here’s something I found funny for some reason. Maybe it’s imagining Kos thinking ‘WTF?’

  209. Evening all, been back from the game, excellently set up by another gripping Big Daddy PM,

    Slightly disappointed not to see The Raspers and Peachy at the Tavern today, but great to meet Chas and his crew plus GM.

    If only the Spuds hadn’t had got that late winner at Cardiff it would have been the perfect day but we are still top and the injuries are starting to mount for the Spuds.

    As we are talking match reports mine is over here if y can’t wait for the excellent London penned one we will get here tomorrow:

  210. 26may1989 says:

    Another excellent result, and our run since winning in Munich is now a very attractive WWWWWDWDWWWLWWWWWWW.

    My only real frustration (a mild one) is that we didn’t keep a clean sheet. On goals conceded and numbers of clean sheets, we’re not doing as well as our general record. We have a good defensive unit, better than Spurs’ defenders (Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Rose and Walker? Please), and yet they’ve only conceded one goal in the PL (thank you, Giroud) whereas we’ve let in six. Room for improvement there.

    Di Canio sacked five games in – bloody hell.

    And that bet (that we’d be top at then end of October) was accepted by Rasp, Red Arse and Jamie. Not that I’m counting any chickens yet…… 🙂

    Peaches and Rasp, I’ll knock up a little match report, happy for LB’s ratings to be slotted in.

  211. Shärd says:


    Seems like we’re both stoked about out-stoking Stoke 🙂

  212. Ha ha, yes Shard, nice to beat the Orcs at their own (set piece) game.

  213. arnie says:

    Lovely report, Chary, great fun!!!!

  214. Cheers Arnie, I feel it’s my duty to try and have a giggle at the Orc’s expense at every possible occasion.

  215. Gööner In Exile says:

    26May I request you find and replace L with Anthony Taylor for clarity’s sake 🙂

    Shard like you I was perplexed by Flamini getting MotM votes, perhaps this is one of those displays that you see better being there than watching on TV, after all the camera tends to track the ball and the TV viewer will not see what work is being done off it.

    How’s this for a counter attacking midfield and attack when the game calls for it….


    Clearly that won’t be every game as the big man is essential for teams like Stoke but can see us using something like that for say Chavs, Man City, Liverpool or United.

  216. dhakka09 says:

    I see that I’m late to the jubilation party. Good job by our lads today, Ramsey banishing his demons, Gnabry coping well, Ozil sending shivers down center-backs across EPL. Just looking at the league table warms my heart endless. I guess the underground lair of Wenger-Out brigade is not a happy camp right now; how silly they must look, like a bunch of Shawcross wearing Halloween costume at a red-carpet gala. Off I go to stare at the league table again (damn those Spuds for their last minute goal or it would’ve looked even better) can’t really complain though 🙂 cheers!

  217. RockyLives says:

    Don’t worry – the Underminers are just waiting for one bad result. Then they’ll come out of the woodwork again…

  218. LB says:

    Hurrah, for 26, I was struggling a bit with this one.

    The player ratings are in drafts.

  219. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rocky I fear you are right but is probably the way of the modern world unfortunately. We have all been trained to be reactionary

    Whereas most sane Gooners are just enjoying our current position and results, as any football fan should.

    Wenger in the press conference said something along the lines of our current position only means we can make improvements with less pressure.

    Arsene’s biggest task over coming weeks is keeping everyone happy as the injuries start healing. Arteta gives him a selection headache, Santi and Rosicky give more, Ox and Poldi more still. Gnabry’s performance also gives us a lift in terms of squad depth, now if only NikB goes out against WBA and slams his critics.

  220. evonne says:

    soon we will hope that a midfielder gets injured 🙂

  221. LB says:

    Hang on this is a bit confusing, I thought we had been told that we had a thin squad and because of that we couldn’t win the league?

  222. evonne says:

    the second best result yesterday was crushing of Manu; I still have smile on my face thinking of they faces and body language, they looked scared 🙂 And Ashley Young is the figure of ridicule now.

    They took some shine of our winning, but hey, I can live with that

  223. chas says:

    Thanks for the pre-match, BR.

    Great to see London’s no 1 crimper and son plus the Essex whirlpool and junior in the Tavern yesterday.
    Out-Stoking Stoke. Lovely. 🙂

    In other news – The Death of Tika-Taka?

    “Barcelona sauntered to what appeared to be a regulation 4-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night, but below the surface, something remarkable was occurring.
    For the first time in 317 competitive games – 317!”

    According to the BBC, we had 49% possession against Stoke yesterday. Who would have thought that the Orcs, post-Poolis, would be able to pass the ball around for so long without hoofing it to Freak?

  224. evonne says:

    old news LB, room 101 🙂

    I know what you are saying – how can just one player change the balance drastically and quickly? Ozil does that all right – he makes the striker more productive (can’t think of a better expression), drags the defenders with him all over the pitch, and while we are attacking the defence and the goalie can do no wrong. Plus, we have Flamini too

    You know that anyway, better than anybody

  225. chas says:

    These few victories are just papering over the cracks. 🙂

  226. Happy Mondays day off top of the leauge and I’m playing golf with knuckles who’s a Swansea fan top man and he’s got me a ticket for the game on Saturday night

  227. Sunderland sack Di Canio

  228. “Essex whirlpool” – ha ha, I like it Chas.

    Morning all.

  229. Morning all

    ………New Post ……………….

  230. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning ALl,

    Koscielny levitating is very funny.

    MU have played Chavs, L’pool + MC . 🙂

    Wish we could play them at home next week just to ram it up Moist. Though he has my full support.

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