I admit it – they don’t play hoofball any more, they have players who can pass a ball and others who are highly skilled, but they are still Stoke and the stands at The Britannia are still packed with Neanderthals and Orcs.
Even the obnoxious Sparky Hughes has mellowed, though not to the extent where one would want him to meet the family. There is a cockney saying …. “you can’t polish a Richard (the Third)”.
Stoke, on paper, look a decent team; the addition of Zouma, on loan from Chelsea, will tighten an already good defence. They have got rid of the appallingly violent Bardsley, Whelan and Walters and replaced them with ball-players from abroad. Though they have signed Darren Fletcher who loves a tackle from behind.
Given the size of the Stoke team allied to our vulnerability to the high ball it will be no shock to see Stoke rely on set plays to score. This will be recurrent theme this season. For this reason I would start Giroud ahead of Welbeck (though the return of BFG and Mustafi is a major positive). Or we take the preferred Micky route and just score more than Stoke.
Mustafi BFG Monreal
Bellerin Ramsey Xhaka Kolasinac
I expect AW to play Welbz but IMO it would be a mistake.
Where do we find a place for Ox? Does he replace Bellerin in home games? Or Monreal? No wonder the young chap is restless and concerned about his future at AFC.
Last weekend saw us win a very exciting and error-strewn game. More of the same could be fun but I would prefer a copy of last season’s game – a 4-1 victory to the Arsenal.
Let it be So …