Stoke Preview: Nacho and Santi to power the left wing?


Ramsey and Diaby to fight their demons – Jack back in ‘the hole’ – Nacho and Santi to power the left wing?

For tomorrow’s game against Stoke I am hoping for a strong performance in the following areas:

  1. Composure and organisational discipline at the back;
  2. Dominance in midfield;
  3. Effective wings;
  4. Composure and clinical finishing up-front.

 I know the above is not rocket science, and I am sure you will agree that if Arsenal does well in those areas on Saturday, we shall win the game with relative ease. However, we know that Arsenal are nowhere near a settled team, and that despite all the qualities our squad possesses, we continue to struggle in the above mentioned areas.

Here are some worrying, but also fascinating, facts I copied of the BBC football website:

  • Opta statistics show that Arsenal have made more errors leading directly to a goal than any other team in the Premier League this season (13).
  • There have been 50 Premier League goals scored at the Emirates Stadium this season – more than at any other ground [Arsenal scored 32 goals at home, joined top with MU, but we also conceded 18 goals; 50% more than in our away games!].
  • If games began in the second half, Arsenal would be second in the table with 46 points, two points behind Manchester City.

Paradoxically, the above tells us Arsenal have a lot of work to do, and yet we are not that far away from being a lot more successful: we scored as many goals as MU and only conceded three more goals than them in the PL at home this season, but yet the Mancs won eleven games out of twelve, and we managed to win just six – hence the enormous gap between us and them in the league table.


With Vermaelen a doubt, it will probably be the BFG and Koz as our two CB’s. Sagna could do with a rest, but against the very physical site of the Orcs, Wenger will probably go for him again rather than Jenkinson.

At left back, it will either be Santos or our new signing: Nacho. It is a big decision for Wenger to make: does he give Santos another chance to prove himself, or will he be worried the Brazilian will mess up badly and the home crowd will go ballistic? Is it too soon to play Nacho; given the amount of change he had to deal with in the last 24 hours, and his unfamiliarity with his team-mates and Arsenal’s playing style? I reckon it is, but Wenger might feel he has no other choice. The heart says; let’s play Nacho, but the brain says; it will be Santos. Aah stuff it; it has to be Nacho on Saturday!


The midfield is again interesting. It looks like Arteta might be back, although he will get a final test on Saturday morning. In a way, I would like both Ramsey and Diaby to start as our two deeper laying midfielders. I would like them to fight for the shirt; to give their all and boss the Stoke midfield physically, technically, and tactically. It would do their confidence a world of good and might help them to put their – mutual leg-break induced – inner demons to rest.

However, if Arteta is fit to play, Arsene is likely to reinstate him, and my gut-feeling tells me Diaby will play next to him, which means that Jack can be moved back into the hole position. I reckon that’s where Jack is at his best and the team plays a lot better with him there; as he conducts our football so well, and adds a real attacking thrust to our game.

It could give Arsene the opportunity to play Santi on the left once more; where he can help Nacho to settle into the team and form a smooth and effective partnership against Stoke. We need at least one wing functioning well on Saturday, and it would be good if we could release the pressure on Sagna a bit. Last season, the Sagna-Theo partnership was one of our best weapons, but with Theo moving towards the middle almost constantly, and Santi Cazorla regularly not helping out either, Sagna does often not get enough support to be really effective; despite trying his hardest to help our attack constantly.


I reckon we might see Santi move into the LW position and the Pod start on the bench for this game: Santi-Giroud-Theo. We need Giroud’s height, and Theo’s and Santi’s goal scoring and assist-producing abilities. And as said before, playing Santi on the left would enable him to support his former team mate Nacho as much as possible, during his first game for the club. The Pod would be perfect as a super-sub, if we were to need one against the Orcs.

Predicted Line-Up:

Arteta will play if declared fit; if not, it will be Ramsey

Arteta will play if declared fit; if not, it will be Ramsey

The line up is a strong one, and the bench will look good too: there is plenty of quality in our squad. But Saturday’s game is all about discipline and composure; about collective pressing and gelling; about taking our chances when they arise; about pride; and for once, about doing all of this for the entire duration of the game.


Written by: TotalArsenal.

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110 Responses to Stoke Preview: Nacho and Santi to power the left wing?

  1. alexgunners says:


    Great article and this touches base in what i said yesterday. We score just as many goals and the Mancs but we also let in more as well due to the defensive mistakes. We could be in a much better position if it weren’t for our defensive lapses.

    This demonstrates that we do have an effective offence even though we complain about missed opportunities. We would not be complaining if we would be more effective at the back. We always seem to have to peg teams back as they score against the run of play and this puts pressure on us and as supporters we feel frustrated at the missed opportunities.

    Nacho is a dillemma, do we start him or Santos. Regardless, I would like to see him start. I guess that is due to the fact that i am not confident due to Santos’ form at the moment.

    Regardless of who comes onto the field to start, we have a strong squad and we should use good wing play to beat the Orcs. They are strong defensively down the middle but we need to break them down early and put the pressure on them. If we score early the pressure will be off our players and maybe we can play the Arsenal way rather than chasing games.

    Great Post

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Alex and all agreed. 🙂

    And good point about the Orcs being strong through the middle and the need to use the wings as much as possible. But will Theo be disciplined enough to work with Sagna as a duo , or will he be focussing too much on being in the middle?!

  3. alexgunners says:


    Thats another issue altogether. Theo needs to improve his vision a bit more and see open players in the middle instead of shooting. He needs to work to his strengths. He scores more goals from the right than he does when he is planted in the middle. So let’s hope that does use Sagna and link up well down the right.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Alex: in the current formation Theo has a different role to play. That’s why I am keen for us to play 4-4-2 with this squad: it would allow Theo to play in a free role, and Giroud to be the attacking pivot, and also free Walcott up from having to offer wing/defensive support all the time.

  5. JM says:

    For all to know:

    Nacho Monreal shall wear the No.17 jersey.

  6. alexgunners says:


    It would be great to implement the 4-4-2 but until it does happen we need Theo to do what he does on the right and despite the fact that he is our top scorer, he needs to understand that he should think about the squads needs before his own. He has shown that he can score goals from his natural position.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Alex, I am totally alligned with you! In the current formation, he has no other choice.

    Got to hit the pillow now, catch up with you tomorrow. 🙂

  8. alexgunners says:


    Good night and I’m off to enjoy this beauiful saturday afternoon.

  9. The Gooner says:

    Great preview TA, definitely given us a lot to think about and with more players returning to the line-up, it gets harder to predict the starters!

    Should be interesting to see if Kos can start hitting form as it makes sense to give him the start and give Verm a rest. It would be great to get all three CBs going to help stabilize the back. I see Sagna starting as well, with Jenkinson not getting the nod until we face Blackburn two weekends from now.

    Of course I want to see Nacho start and would prefer to just bench Santos for the duration of his contract and see if Meade can cut it in the FA Cup. Nacho and Santi should be a formidable combination on the left, which will allow Jack to dominate the game in the hole position. Jack’s much more influential in a more advanced role and Diaby when fit is the ideal b2b midfielder. Against Stoke’s big center backs, we’ll need Jack and Diaby at their best.

    I really don’t want Ramsey to play tomorrow, as I feel that he’ll be timid and reserved; he still isn’t a natural fit for the DM position either, despite doing a decent job as a fill in. If Arteta is healthy, he can help stabilize the midfield and be the on-field general dictating the play.

  10. JM says:


    My preferred line-up will be the same as yours (4-2-3-1):

    GK: Szczesny, RB: Sagna, R-CB: Koscielny, L-CB: Mertesacker, LB: Monreal, R-CM: Diaby, L-CM: Arteta (Captain), C-AM: Wilshere, RW/R-AM: Walcott, LW/L-AM: Cazorla, CF: Giroud

    Subs.: Mannone, Jenkinson, Santos/Vermaelen, Rosicky, Ramsey, AoC, Podolski

    We must break into Stoke’s physical and stingy defence (they also conceded 29 goals so far) and breach the goal of one the in-form GKs currently in the EPL, Asmir Begovic. Stoke City are the current masters in drawing games (12 games in 24 played).

  11. The Gooner says:

    Alex (from the last article),

    I also 100% agree with you on Miquel and Meade. There’s not much more for Miquel to prove in the reserves and his development will just stagnate against lesser competition. We definitely made a mistake with Bartley, so hopefully Miquel will get his chance with Meade in the FA Cup. Santos should just be banished to non-existence with Squillaci…

    However, I reckon we won’t see more youngsters playing in the FA and Capital One Cups until next year. The reasoning for this is that there is a lot of pressure for Arsenal to win some silverware and the FA cup is really our only chance this year. Next year, hopefully our team has finished the growing pains and starts the season off with a bang. Doing well in the PL is the only way that our players will be relieved of the burden of also having to start in cup competitions. Also, it could also be an issue of our academy not being as strong as it once was; when they were called upon in the Capital One Cup, they were largely underwhelming. There’s definitely talent there but they need to be integrated together with our bench players in those cup competitions and not thrust into games all at once.


    Great stuff TA

    I can not fault your analysis. fascinating that that you highlight those statistics. I think they reinforce our problems and conversely our stengths. I have been going to Arsenal as a regular now for over 30 years and have seen many teams with different strengths and weaknesses.

    The liverpool game epotomised the current side perfectly. On the ball we move the ball beautifully, there is loads of movement and a tremondous amount of skill.

    All opoistiion from Man Utd to Bradford know how to counter our game. They press high up the pitch in the knowledge that our back guys are looking to pass, in the hope of inducing an error and than bang, counter attack.

    When we evade this ploy and get the ball into there half, then they all drop back, creating a situation were there can be 20 players in there half, making space a premium and compounding our difficulty in breaking them down.

    It will be fascinating to see wether we can eventully overcome these problems. a defensive midfielder? a top class Striker?, the answer is that in all honesty i do not know.

    What i would say however that this no time for despondancy. The likes of Liverpool are coming to our place with a defensive first approach.The reality is that though this is borne out of the fact that it is the right way to play against Arsenal, it also stems from fear. Teams, big teams, are simply frightened of our quality and come with a game plan.

    There are superb ingredients there. The likes of Wilshere and Wallcot are maturing so quickly that in many ways its remarkable. Others will soon follow a similar path and just as importantly it seems these current players are in for the long haul.

    I am very, very confident that this current squad will form the spine of our next team to win the premeir league. Problems, current defeciencies? yes. Despair and gloom? no bloddy chance.

    We are on the verge of something big.

  13. Percy says:

    Very good analysis. My thoughts are it does not really matter if Nacho arrived yesterday or two hours ago, Santos is playing shocking football. I remember last season when we beat Chelsea 5 – 3, Santos scored a very good goal, he showed glimpses of his potential. In that game he also made a mistake that resulted in a goal against us. I think that he needs more game time because he has potential.

    On Diaby, I am huge fan of his, I guess its because I liked how Viera played. Diaby needs to learn to protect the ball and try and not to do too much. He must just stay injury free…

    On paper we look good and we must just defend well in the 1st half and continue playing well in the 2nd half. Or Wenger must half the halftime shouting before the game start this way we will play for 90 minutes.

    We should beat Stoke easily.

    @Terry, I really liked your insight. Well put!

  14. VCC says:

    Nice pre match Total.

    That’s a surprising stat, “If games began in the second half Arsenal would be second, two points behind Manchester City” An eye opener.

    I hope Terry is right, and we are on the verge of something big.

    We need to go all out now. We have a big enough squad to be able to rotate and keep most players fit. Push towards getting at least fourth and go and win the FA Cup.

    On today’s game against Stoke, who will park the bus, we need Theo to hug that touch line, take players on and cross the ball to onward moving forwards.

    I’m going for a 3-1 win to The Arsenal.

  15. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Morning all, hope your all well.

    UMF1 predictions:-

    Chelski- away win
    Reading v Sunderland- draw
    Wigan v Soton- draw
    Manure- away win
    Spudz- away win
    Shitty v Pool- draw

    Under the pump atm, be back later

    Ps. Nachos never really filled me up, but i hope this guy is munreal.
    Now….who has my coat?

  16. Gerry Lennon says:

    TA – Great analysis, and there was I thinking you had said it all for me? I am with you on Nacho playing. Where I differ is midfield. I think Ramsey will be Sagna’s back up, Diaby back towards the left, And Cazorla in front of that pair(for the reason you gave re-Nacho). No change for me up front.
    Arteta to come on for Ramsey late on, and may be the Ox for Cazorla if we are a couple of goals up? That would be a nice position to be in with twenty minutes to go, eh?

    Oh, and answers to questions, see last post on yesterday’s blog.

  17. VCC says:

    Alex odds = 66-1
    Herb odds = 143-1
    Oz odds = 70-1
    PPP odds = 223-1
    Red Arse odds = 65-1

    Red Arse selections were done by VCC ( On request from Sir Redders) (drink is waiting at the bar)

    QPR v Nor………home
    Read v Sund…..draw
    WHU v Swans..draw
    Ful v MU ……….away
    NU v Chels…….away

  18. Red Arse says:

    Hi VCC, 🙂

    Thank you kindly, for doing my UMF predictions.

    I am keeping a list of those who have seen me topple from the pinnacle of the table into mid-table obscurity.

    Come to think of it, does that remind you of anything?

    Nonetheless, retribution will be swift and telling, if I am not top, come the end of the season.

  19. VCC says:

    Things are on the up Redders no worries, after all you have that tipster GLiC out of the way. It’s all upwards from here.

  20. Red Arse says:

    Some great blogging on here late night and early morning, VCC. 🙂

    Now there is just you and me. Time for me to go for a short walk!!

  21. Red Arse says:

    I did not mean because of you, VCC, my friend!! 😀

  22. VCC says:

    cheers Redders. Nice to feel loved 😉

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the fine comments last night and this morning. I will be responding as soon as I can! 🙂

    I have just heard I have got a ticket for the FA cup Blackburn game and will be travelling with a fellow Gooner based in Norwich: yippee!! 🙂

  24. VCC says:

    nice one Total, pleased for you.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, that will be my first live FA cup game! I have watched CL, LC, and PL games but never an FA cup one! 🙂

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    TG at 1.56 all agreed – we are fully aligned on our views towards the line-up and tactics. 🙂

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    JM at 2.01 said: ‘Stoke City are the current masters in drawing games (12 games in 24 played).’ It is good proof that mediocre, unimaginative football ultimately will lead to mediocre results.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry at 3.08 – what a fine, insightful comment. It is really great to have a few season ticket holders on BK’ as you are able to watch the game week in week out at Ashburton Grove, and can analyse the game than us (predominantly) armchair fans. seeing the whole pitch in front of you makes it so much easier to analyse the game properly, and your analysis seems spot on. 🙂

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Percy at 6.21, fine comment and all agreed. Santos would get better and more effective if he were to play a number of games in a row, but Arsene just has not got the luxury to allow him time to settle into the team. 😕

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC: a 3-1 victory sounds feasible, or it might be a hard fought 1-0 or 2-1. But I will also add that once this team gets going somebody will get seven or eight goals wacked around the ears. Ooh, let it be the Orcs today! 😛

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    You might well be right re Ramsey starting ahead of Arteta today. I will read your comment in last post in a bit! 🙂

    RA 🙂

    I got you five points midweek and I got not even a thank you from you! 😦

  32. oz gunner says:

    Cheers fro the good read TA. Like VCC I’m shocked with that second half stat! Bould needs to start jabbing the players with adrenaline before they go out onto the ground! We could be second!
    I heard Santi is under a bit of an injury cloud so I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Ramsey are rested with Diaby slotting in next to Arteta.
    Stoke aren’t as orc-ish as they once were so I think it’ll be an easy one!

    I’m STOKED to see Nacho play! eh eh eh…alright I’ll escort myself out!

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow, Gerry, fine comment last night. You describe your passion for horse racing really well, but I do wonder a bit whether you would like it as much as you did/do without the betting element. I have friends who go a lot ot horse races but they can get so excited about the betting that I often wonder whether the actual horse races are of any interest to them. In your case, it is clear you like the horses/races themselves a lot, though.

    Glad you are not writing for the Bleacher Report: not one of my favourites. 16 dogs?! Good heaven! I have got one and find it a lot of hard work – worth it though – but sixteen!?!? Respect, Gerry, respect! 🙂

  34. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, 🙂

    Great Post — and how often I say that!!!!! 😀

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘evening’ Oz – another late nighter for you! Agreed on the ‘Stokiness’ of the current Orcs team. 🙂

  36. Red Arse says:


    I thought that my last stand-in predictor was VCC, but maybe he is doing it this week.

    Regardless, thank you very much for your sterling work on my behalf!!! 🙂 I am grateful!

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Redders 😛

    Hope you are feeling a bit better at the moment. A good win against the Orcs should do you good! Have you, perhaps, been brewing on any potential post items recently? 😉

  38. Red Arse says:

    Hi Ozzer, 🙂

    Less than an hour to go!! 🙂

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders, three games were predicted right, but unfortunately for your score, Chelsea and City only managed an away draw; where I predicted away wins…. 😳

  40. alexgunners says:

    Good Evening Guys,

    Less than an hour to kick off, lets hope for a true Arsenal performance of old, not the 45 minute Arsenal

  41. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    if you exact revenge of Arse Red wouldn’t that cause some sort of tear in the space time continuum?

    Then again Hawking does have the chronology protection conjecture outlawing the loop thus not allowing you to meet up with him; although, that is just conjecture as it has not been proven as yet. BUT if there is indeed infinite realities you could hypothetically kill another version of yourself without affecting you and us in this universe.
    So what I’m trying to say is do you really want to carry out this revenge knowing we may never get to see Arsenal win a trophy AGAIN???
    Dear god man…pull yourself together!

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening Alex 🙂

    90 minutes indeed! 😈

  43. oz gunner says:

    Afternoon gents.

    Something seems not right in the UMF league though! RA was top. Now he has dropped down. VCC has done his tips…and is now on top! ah-HUH!

    What sort of crooked game are you running here VCC?

    No doubt some sort of evil genius plan to use the winnings to get a tattoo on your other bum cheek, I get it, purely for symmetrical reasons right?!

  44. Red Arse says:

    I will have a think about a subject for a Post, TA, and as I have been on the up lately, I will give it a go!! 🙂

    I read a number of other blog’s Posts today, and when I read LG’s (pretty well written) Post, there was a sentence in it that made me wonder if it was directed at me.

    The author mentioned ‘Occam’s Razor’ and then apologised by saying he sounded like “that w*nker who talked about philosophers”.

    Is there another football blogger who writes about philosophical issues like me? Surely not!! 😀

  45. VCC says:


    PPP and Total have stood in for you.

    I drew out the hat for Alex last week with the FA Cup.

    This week as I had no takers I did your call for you.

    Hope that’s all clear as mud lol.


  46. alexgunners says:

    Nacho to Start

    Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Diaby, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Giroud

    Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Santos, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski

  47. oz gunner says:

    looks like a very good lineup to me! Ox and Walcott on the wings, that is some sort of speed combination!

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahahaha ‘“that w*nker who talked about philosophers”. 😛

    Redders, that is priceless, and I would be honoured if it was me who was given such a fine accolade! 😀

  49. alexgunners says:


    The squad looks a bit better and at least we have players on the bench that can make a difference if needed

  50. Red Arse says:

    Now look, Oz. I am a noted specialist on the effects of a temporal paradox!!
    I have spent years watching Dr Who to complete my post doctorate thesis!

    Terry, Glic and I are putting the finishing touches to a space/time machine, and our plan is to go back and remove the forebears of bad people, like Stalin, SAF, Pulis and Spectrum.

    Of course when I said forebears above, Glic thinks I mean the four bears who ate Goldilocks’s porridge — bless him!! 😀

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Alex, looks like I got my line-up pretty sharp, except for Cazorla/Ox! 🙂

  52. alexgunners says:

    Red and Oz,

    This conversation is going way over my head. Either you guys have watched too much Dr Who or The Big Bang Theory.

  53. Red Arse says:

    Perfectly clear administration of the UMF, to me, VCC, it is only Ned Kelly (aka Oz) who doubted your integrity, just before he popped out to hold up another bank! 🙂

  54. Red Arse says:


    Just be careful!! Spending too much time on BK can be deleterious to your sense of humour.

    Terry, Glic and Oz used to be Professors at Oxford, Cambridge and Wallaballou respectively — now look at them!! (Yeah, I know, Oz’s Uni looks a bit suss!!) 😀

  55. GoonerB says:

    Very well written pre-match TA. I hadn’t commented on them but I also enjoyed the recent posts from The Gooner and Oz.

    Interesting line up. Is the Ox in and Cazorla benched for tactical reasons or just astute squad rotation?.

    Good afternoon Redders. I hope all is well? (just had a deja vu moment. weird).

    If they are referring to you redders I find it brilliant that you have managed to get under their skin so. It only places you on a higher hero status in my eyes. Now get off of here and go and get all aristotle on their arses.

  56. alexgunners says:


    ‘Deleterious’, Thats a big word. Had to look that one up, My education is from Wallaballou as well

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi GoonerB 🙂

    Can I also say you wrote some fine posts for AA recently. Top stuff!

  58. oz gunner says:

    haha RA, you are indeed the master of multiverse/time travel.

    But GLIC causes enough trouble in this time, imagine would sort of damage he would do what’s he made a mockery of the chaos theory. They didn’t have jokes back in the day like GLIC says now (ask VCC, he’s old 🙂 ). He’d test the grandfather paradox by sending impure thoughts and telling jokes to grandfather GLIC. This would be dangerous as the impure thoughts would leave him grinning from ear to ear, and he’d be dying to use them on Grandma GLIC, who would then in turn tell all her friends at the hair parlour. We’d all be a bunch of Nymphomaniac cracking jokes constantly!

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Alex, we all have a dictionary next to our PC’s to keep up with our one and only polymath! 😛

  60. alexgunners says:


    Thanks for the advice, im downloading the dictionary app to my phone as we speak

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Alex, you also need a Glictionary – good luck with down loading it! 😛

  62. VCC says:

    Oz…Calling Oz…are you there. If so Oz have you any streams for us please

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Catch you guys at half time!

  64. alexgunners says:

    catch you then,
    No luck finding a Glictionary tho’


  65. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    Hey I’ll have you know my uni is ranked 96th in the world! Yeah! now that’s an education! 🙂

  66. Red Arse says:


    Reading your 14:36, you have me grinning from ear to ear to ear (polymath? what polymath?) 🙂

  67. oz gunner says:

    Here you go VCC

    I’ll try and track some more down so you have backups

  68. Red Arse says:

    TA, oh Great Clog Master, did you mean I am turning you all into lexicomanes? 😛

  69. VCC says:

    Oz…for the next 90 minutes I Love You. 😉

  70. oz gunner says:

    You definitely are a Renaissance Man RA! 🙂

  71. The Gooner says:

    Hi All!

    Game day, could not be more excited that Nacho is starting! I knew I was onto something when I didn’t see Santi at the training ground yesterday :).

    Well, I have once again been deceived by the so called “experts”, as I sneakily asked my cousin (a footy analyst) to give me his predictions for scores. Apparently, I’m the idiot for listening to him!

    Let’s see how my gut instinct picks would have done opposed to my actual picks:

    QPR vs. Norwich draw
    Manure away win
    Spuds away win
    Chel$ea away win
    Swansea away win
    Reading vs. Sunderland draw

  72. alexgunners says:

    Hi TG,

    Lets hope he has a good run out against the ORCS

  73. The Gooner says:

    Hi Alex,

    I hope so too! He has an element of physicality and aggression so let’s hope it serves him well.

  74. alexgunners says:

    Looking forward to see what he is made of in the coming games. If he has the physicality then the adjustment to the PL wont be as long. Fingers crossed

  75. The Gooner says:

    Diaby looks off, he’s continually played the ball into poor areas leading to turnovers

  76. oz gunner says:

    @ TG

    Monreal has got some real pace on him!

  77. The Gooner says:


    Very good pace! If only Ox had played a better ball to him…

  78. oz gunner says:

    and bloodied a Stoke player!

  79. The Gooner says:

    That half was more or less the re-birth of the sideways and backwards passing.

  80. VCC says:

    We need to inject more pace. Walcott and Chamberlain have got to take their full backs on more, take a chance, if they lose the ball we have back up behind them to cover and also Stoke are only playing with one up front so there is not too much danger if we miss out occasionally. Otherwise we will just play sideways all the time.

  81. The Gooner says:

    Everyone across the back four looks much more organized. Loved the early aggressive jump tackles by both Koscielny and Mertesacker. Sagna closing down the opposition 1 on 1 very well and Stoke have more or less completely avoided attacking down Nacho’s left side.

  82. oz gunner says:

    LU LU!!!

  83. The Gooner says:

    Haha that was just what we needed!

  84. oz gunner says:

    This is Under Siege 3!

  85. The Gooner says:

    Looks like I’m going to have a bad, bad week in the UMF!

  86. alexgunners says:

    That makes two of us, but the important thing is that we got the points

  87. The Gooner says:


    Always the most important thing 🙂

  88. oz gunner says:

    me too TG, i’ve got 1. Damn the draws are just too tempting to go for! Before them I was sitting second!

  89. The Gooner says:


    I lost three draws in the matter of like 5 minutes…West Ham/Swansea, Newcastle/Chelsea and Reading/Sunderland

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Three very valuable points. Many positives today in terms of shape, discipline and composure. Stoke set up the old fashioned way against us and we just lacked the courage to get closer to their box: I would have liked to see Diaby positioning himself in front of the ‘D’ a lot more.

    VCC was spot on about our lack of courage on the wing, but I also would like to say well done to our wing-backs for constantly supporting our attackers and never stop running.

    The substitutions made the difference in the end with their directness and especially Cazorla playing closer to the box.

    With the Chavs losing and Everton dropping two points, it has been a very fine afternoon for us. An ugly, hard-fought for win, but who gives a dump?!

  91. alexgunners says:

    Ultimately we played against a team that just parked the bus.
    Offensively we found it hard to find space around the bus.
    They did not make it easy for us and it shows that the ORCS do not belong in the PL. How a team can take themselves seriously when they come out and play for a draw, ill never know.

    Look at the stats

    Fouls – Us 3 Orcs 13
    Possession – Us 66% Orcs 34%
    Yellow Cards – Us 0 Orcs 3
    Corner Kicks – Us 11 Orcs 1

    Lets look at the Positives

    Chel$ki Lost
    Nacho – Great Player, defended well and great wing play when needed
    Everton Drew (Luckily)
    We played with heart and passion

    and did i mention
    Chel$ki Lost.

    I will take a win any day of the week regardless of how it comes.

    Time to go to bed and hope that the Spuds have a hiccup as well.

    Good night guys

  92. oz gunner says:

    nite alex, very well said

  93. glic says:

    Afternoon Transdimensional Transexual Vortex Gammonflap Divers, I have no f**king idea what that means but who cares coz we won !. 😆

    A bit late, but fine pre-match Total, I did read it at work earlier this morning !.

    How did…..” Ciao Arsenal, I`m Gooner ” play, any good ?

  94. The Gooner says:


    Nacho was solid, a couple clears near the end were a little rushed and not thought out well though. Had a couple good pushes forward and some decent crosses. Was pretty stable the whole game, Stoke never really tested him though. He also butt headed Walters and left him a bloody mess!

    Also, Fulham blacked out!

  95. Gerry Lennon says:

    Evening all, I’ve not seen the match yet, so nothing to add. I even missed the goal while the sound commentary was ‘buffering’. I seem to get very poor broadband signal on Saturday afternoons. I’ll catch up on the player when it’s ready.

    TA – On horse racing. I wrote several blogs about Frankel last season, but never backed him once. Yes, getting one over on the bookies is a bonus, but it is not the ‘be all and end all’ regards interest. The last bet I had was in October, but I still watch the jump racing. Sprinter Sacre is looking like he will be filling the boots of Kauto Star, another horse I followed but never backed. On the Flat, my time ratings don’t only point to winners, more often they highlight weak favourites. However, the time I put in compiling my ratings, my occasional bets are just a rewards for the effort. There are horses I back to win, and there are horses I get an attachment to for the way they win, and the two are not necessarily bound together.

    Yes, dogs. Lots of them. I keep telling people who ask ‘Why so many’ that you can never have too many dogs, but you can have more than you can afford. What I have not managed is knowing which is more true, and the numbers involved?

    Good result today, and a clean sheet as a bonus.. Can’t be bad can it?

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry, it is always nice to hear somebody passionate about something; and you are clearly in the know about horse racing. ‘You can never have too many dogs’: you clearly are passionate about four-footers! 🙂

    Indeed a good result and three points, and also great preparation for what we can expect in a week’s time at the stadium of light. Three points there and we are rocking!

  97. Highbury Harmony says:

    Exactly TA, what’s important is that we got the three points, not how we got them. Going forward, we can expect much of the same vs. Sunderland next weekend. We’ll have to find a way to break down stubborn defences, though I assume Podolski will start over Ox and Santi over Diaby. In my opinion, Podolski likely would have scored both of Ox’s golden chances if he had been in the same position.

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    Hello Highbury Harmony aka TG: nice change of name! 🙂

    Yes, it is fair to say that Pod would probably have put one of those chances away. Ox has to learn to become more lethal, but it is what you would expect at this stage of his development. I reckon we need Diaby for his physical attributes against Sunderland, but I also agree that Santi is likely to start the next game. A nice dilemma for Monsieur Wenger!

  99. Highbury Harmony says:


    It’s finally all starting to come together! We finally have competition for places and our players are returning to full health :). I reckon Diaby will get the rest next week vs. Sunderland and start against Blackburn the week after. My logic is that I assume AW will want Santi fresh for the Bayern tie.


    vs. Sunderland – Szczesny, Monreal, Koscielny (Vermaelen if healthy), Mertesacker, Sagna, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud, Walcott

    vs. Blackburn – Szczesny, Santos, Miquel (I hope), Koscielny, Jenkinson, Coquelin, Diaby, Rosicky, Ox, Gervinho, Ramsey

    vs. Bayern – Szczesny, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud, Walcott

  100. Highbury Harmony says:

    Sorry Monreal will start in place of Santos against Blackburn since he can’t play against Bayern!

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, I doubt Arsene will play a much weakened team against Blackburn: stakes are too high…

  102. Highbury Harmony says:


    I was thinking the same thing, however upon closer inspection Szczesny, Monreal, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Diaby, Ox, Gervinho are all pretty good quality and it’s the best way to give Coquelin, Rosicky and Ramsey a go. The only substitution would be Miquel out for Mertesacker. If you look at it, it’s a fairly strong side and we’ll still have Walcott, Giroud, Santi, Jack, Podolski that can be called upon from the bench at any time.

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes, agreed HH! 🙂

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    The main thing in the Blackburn game is to rest Jack, Vermaelen, Santi, Theo and Pod for me. Bayern’s flanks are incredibly strong and we’ll need to be at our best offensively and defensively to be able to have any chance. As for Jack and Santi, it’s self-explanatory since we’ll need them to be at 100% vs. Schweinsteiger, Kroos and Javi.

    Should be an exciting game, especially if we come to play for a full 90 minutes. Bayern, like most Bundesliga sides, come out and attack, so it should be an open game with a lot of scoring chances.

  105. richie59er says:

    @HHakaTG; Quick comment re your excellent article about Nacho sorry I didn’t get to comment, up to my eye balls; Senor Monreal acquitted himself very well in his début, as I knew he would (no doubt you had very much same thoughts). A very solid performance both going forward and defensively, can’t wait for Nacho to fully settle into the Arse and the Prem. His pace is gonna surprise many and it will be such an asset especially when we get back to playing some decent fast one touch attacking.
    I think quite a few of our own would’ve liked the fact that Nacho certainly ain’t a pushover he’s always had a that little bit of grit, a trace of metal in his character, as we all know the orcs are physical to put it mildly, playing them ain’t ever a day at the beach. Getting the most corporeal of Prem teams first time out will stand him in good stead I feel. He is one of the most welcome pieces of the jigsaw, that’s our current rebuild, if we can get two more bits in this summer we can afford to wait for the rare rough stones to be cut and polished into top quality gems, that sparkle as only diamonds can.

    With the Chav’s loss and the Toffee’s snatching a late draw our very welcome 3 points have paned out particularly well for us. When teams park the bus a very Bergkampesque defence splitting pass is called for, that Theo needs to run on to, while playing on the defenders shoulders. Santi, Rosicky, Jack and Diaby are all capable of rolling that type of ball forward; the strikers just need to anticipate them. I say “just” it’s something that needs to be worked on in training constantly but we don’t seem to be up to that at the moment, I don’t know why? Anyway the pillow is calling its 03:30 its 03:31 its 03:32 I can no longer resist. Hasta Mañana todo!

  106. Highbury Harmony says:


    Thank you for the very kind words, I knew the Nacho article was one you’d be mightily proud of! I agree that Nacho was very steady in his debut and you could tell he was a little nervous out there in his first game, but know he’ll be just fine. Our defence as a whole looked more organized and composed, but that may be a credit to the lack of attacking by Stoke, opposed to a vast improvement by our team. Still, I’ll take what I’m given and am happy that we dealt with all the impending danger accordingly.

    As far as starters go, I think all we’re short on now are a beast of a DM, a faster and more physical version of Mert and another striker. I know many on here won’t be happy of my striker suggestion, but a player like Jovetic would seamlessly fit into our side and be our next RVP (before he left and became van Judas). As you state Richie, having the proper talent in the starting 11 will go a long way in easing the transition of our youth into the first team, as well as allowing them the proper time to develop into finished articles.

  107. Gerry Lennon says:

    Well I have watched the game, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. More with our peformance than as an example of football excellence.
    I thought the whole team did a great job of softening up Stoke, so when the subs came on the game was there to be won.
    I ran through your checklist at the top of the article, of what was needed: 1, 2, and 3 fully accomplished. Just 4 – Clinical finishing that was missing. Shame.

  108. VCC says:

    Morning happy Gooners isn’t it nice =

    OOh to…..Ooh to be…….OOH to be a GOONER.

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post! 🙂

    Goo morning VCC and other fine fellow Gooners! 🙂

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