Arsenal-Stoke City: Match Preview, Predicted Line-Up. Time to Prove it on the Pitch

Has it really only been a fortnight since Arsenal won that 1-nil match up at Newcastle?  It feels MUCH longer, doesn’t it?

It’s not so much that we were playing beautiful football and had to take a break for some not very exciting International football, instead (for me at least) it’s more about the damp squib which was the closing of the transfer window.  With Arsenal passing on last minute opportunities–real and imagined–we’re right back to the existential crises which seem to gnaw at the very soul of Arsenal supporters.

On the plus side, we now have a new moniker regarding our management team–‘the only club in the top five leagues which didn’t buy an outfield player.’  On the down side is well, everything else.  (And, of course, the bit about the no outfield players is likely a negative for many.)  Now, on top of all the usual hysteria, hyperbole and bad logic the transfer window generates, we’ve got the ‘lies’ surrounding Danny Welbeck’s injury.  I’m ready to move on.  Anybody else?

The truth of the matter, as Arsene Wenger sees it at least, is that our squad isn’t that bad and the opportunity to improve by way of buying players in the transfer window just wasn’t there.  This is the key statement from his pre-match press conference: “Buying and selling is one way to strengthen your team but that’s not the only way.”

Did I say “pre-match” press conference?  Yes, yes I did.  We have a match.  It’s against Stoke City and it’s Saturday at 3 o’clock.  Football, actual Arsenal football.  Yay!

Playing Stoke in our home stadium has been a very good fixture for us.  Since their promotion back to the top level of English football in 2008 this one has been a guaranteed three points.  All the real action–all the bad results, all the horrible injuries (with the Stoke supporters cheering them)–that we associate with Stoke, has taken place up there in the Potteries.

As such, the expectation must be for a solid win on our home pitch against a lesser opponent–except that we haven’t had such an outing since the end of last season.  In fact (as we all know) Arsenal have yet to score on our home pitch this season.  Going further back, with the exception of that final day 4-1 romp against a West Bromwich Albion team which appeared already on vacation, we’ve failed to score in 5 of our last 6 home matches!

What’s going on here?  Well, that’s the question I asked in the last post so I won’t ask it again.  The link is at the top of the page.  Check it out…

Many believe it’s a tactical problem and some would like to see an approach similar to that which worked in that one match (vs WBA) where we scored at will: Theo Walcott at center forward. It worked that time, and other line-ups, mostly built around Olivier Giroud in that position have failed.  Why not?

Why not, indeed?  Stoke are a different team under manager Mark Hughes than the defence-first, try-to-nick-one-off-a-long-throw outfit which made them a solid mid-table club under Tony Pulis.   Since Hughes took over, they’ve added flair while losing a bit of size and graft.   Hughes has bought attacking players who couldn’t get a look in at places like Barcelona (Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay) and Bayern Munich (Xherdan Shaqiri).  Is Sparky the new Pep Guardiola?

Unfortunately, in this one at least, I doubt we’ll see too much in the way of Stoke pushing hard for a win.  Afellay (along with Charlie Adam) are suspended and this would be Bojan’s first match since knee surgery.  Additionally other strong attacking characters, notably Marko Arnautovic and Mame Diouf, are fitness questions.  They may play but can they give Hughes 90 minutes at full strength?

My bet is that he will use these players but will rely on more agricultural types like David Whelan and Jonathan Walters, even if the latter was almost off to Norwich at the transfer deadline.  That move didn’t happen and Walters will want to try and show that he can do a job for his club.  Holding the ball up and frustrating Arsenal from the front will likely be his assignment as Stoke will also be missing the man who broke Aaron Ramsey’s tibia and fibula, Center-back Ryan Shawcross.

Without Shawcross, they will have to work even harder to protect their promising but very young English goalkeeper, Jack Butland.  As such, I’d expect Stoke, like so many other teams, to come to Arsenal hoping to defend deep and hit on the break.

Predictable as it may seem, I believe Wenger will thus go back to his main group and try to break the parked bus not with speed but with our best football players.  Boring, boring, I know–and actually a big risk for Wenger–given that it hasn’t worked well in recent times.

Bench: Ospina, Gabriel, Debuchy, Gibbs, Arteta, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Or, I could be wrong, very wrong.  Maybe Wenger sticks with Gabriel (who looked good vs Liverpool and at Newcastle) and continues the rest Koscielny got with the French team.  Giroud was booed off with that group, so perhaps Wenger mixes things up by moving Alexis central and playing the English attackers (Theo and the Ox) on either side of him, while reserving Ollie as a sub to employ if we need goals late on.  Or maybe Giroud and Theo play side by side and one of the more regular attacking mids (Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla) gets a bench seat.  Could this be the match where Wenger rests Francis Coquelin to get a slightly more attacking player into central midfield (Aaron Ramsey, perhaps)?  Mikel Arteta, the club captain, has been talking big about finally being fully fit and wanting to fight for his place in the team.  Would giving him a start be just the change the team needs to improve their home form?

I don’t think so.  Instead, I think the main group just needs to play their best, keep themselves and the ball moving well and break down the resistance Stoke will bring while being ever alert to their threat on those occasions when our possession breaks down.  Like I said, boring, boring, boring…

That’s just my thought, of course.  What say you, fellow Gooners?  Whose got the (more exciting) ideas sure to put Stoke to the sword?

Go on you Gunners… And you Gooners!  Get behind the team (as AW also suggested supporters might do) or have at it.  Either way, enjoy the football!!

by 17highburyterrace

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81 Responses to Arsenal-Stoke City: Match Preview, Predicted Line-Up. Time to Prove it on the Pitch

  1. Gerry says:

    I think you had a bit of a poison chalice with this preview HT. You are simply not going to please all the people, but you may please some, some of the time.
    Great effort though.

    I am certainly not going to argue with the line-up, perhaps the shape but not the numbers.

    I said in my early post why I think Giroud will start, and although the back 5 are the most likely, Gabby is possibly the more intimidating than Per, rather than drop LozKos? Either way, with both Debuchy and Monreal in the squad to cover the CB spot, it could open up a spot for another attacker on the bench. Whoever misses out will start in the CL game midweek.

    If this had been played earlier there might have been a possibility of resting Ramsey in a similar manner, given how flat the Welsh side looked in their second game? But as that was a week ago it is the midfield 5 that we are most likely to see, and the ‘wide boys’ from the bench will be the ones to start midweek?

    However, going back to my morning post, thinking along the lines of the 4-5-1, the tweak that makes sense to me (and probably only me 😀 ), especially as Ramsey in the middle gives better balance to the side, would be to defend with all 5, but attack in a 1-3-1-1. Have Giroud and Alexis alternate positions in front and behind around the Stoke box, Ozil to go where it takes him, and Cazorla and Ramsey to go for the spaces. Coquelin is the one who stays, assisted by either full back who is not involved in attack. Both Cazorla and Ramsey making sure they don’t both get caught up field at the same time, so at least one can get back in case of a Stoke counter-attack.

    But as you say, the line up could be different again. I could be wrong, but I am sensing that they know Alexis is sharp and ready to fire, and by keeping him closer to the middle will give him every chance to prove it? I think I gave him MOTM as my prediction last Monday, ha ha. We shall see?

    Cheers

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Great timing, 17ho. The weekend starts and what is nicer than reading a well thought out match preview of our beloved Arsenal? Will read in a bit and get back to you.

    Re last post: home form will come good as soon as we start scoring regularly in the first 35 minutes. We are missing that little sharpness at the moment but it will come again. So I am not worried about Arsenal’s home form and linking the last few games of last season with the first few of this season is a dangerous link for finding trends. Let’s get sharper in the first third of the game and then we will get the home crowd buzzing again… and also take more points from our home encounters.

  3. proudgooner says:

    Good pre-match 17,
    I found myself agreeing with nearly all you said.
    Good info on the Stoke injuries and banned players some of which i did not know.
    The one player or position i would defo change is RW, i would leave Ramsey on the bench to start and play Theo.
    It is goals we need, plus as you said we want to play with speed and Walcott is defo the man, plus he has not started enough.

    Theo is faster then Berllerin. Bellerin beat Theo’s time when they were the same age , but Theo is defo faster the Bellerin now.

  4. proudgooner says:

    TA,
    Wenger loves nothing more then watching the Red army score and i bet he has tuned them in to scoring mode the last few days.
    I agree with you totally.
    It is a shame i could not be there tomw to do my bit cheering them on. But our fans are aware of this now so hopefully will start making more noise of support.

    C O Y G

  5. RA says:

    PG,

    Theo and Hector Protector had a re-run of last year’s sprint competition about three weeks ago – and Hector beat him again.

    Theo is quick and defenders are always anxious with him lurking around — but attackers get nowhere with Belli – unless he gets too far forward and leaves the Mert unprotected – I think the slowness of Per is the reason Hector gets the nod over Debuchy, because of his pace.

    Just saying! 🙂

  6. proudgooner says:

    RA,
    Thanks i did not know that, that is a surprise the Spaniard is super quick

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    17 🙂

    Agreed with the line up and no worries about the fans getting behind the team once more. Thanks for the injury update on the Stoke team and it would have been good to mention that the real good news is that all our key players came back uninjured after two international games. It will not be easy to get a cohesive unit on the pitch with just a few days of having all the players together again. But they will be keen to fight for three points and please the crowd with good football; and we always like to spank the Orcs when we can. So UTA and seven times OGAAT before the next interdull. 🙂

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    At last, I am honking my fog horn at you Redders – How the devil are you? 😀

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    How was the game of golf, PG?

  10. RA says:

    Hi TA,

    Not been too good health wise for a few months. Told on Wednesday that careful monitoring might do the trick rather than an operation, but others I got to know were not so lucky, which made me sad.

    Hope you and the family are all well including my four legged friend. 🙂

    I will try and get back again when you are on! 🙂

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    It saddens me, Redders, that from the moment we got to know each other until today, you have been unwell almost constantly. You do carry your health burden stoically, though, which is admirable. Hope things will improve for you once again 🙂

    Very busy right now with a project but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I am looking fwd to autumn in Scotland coming up soon.

    Henry, our four footer is doing really well, thanks. He is brilliant at acting stupid and thus getting his way. A bit like Cockie, I reckon! 😀

  12. AwayGunner says:

    Thanks HT, great post!

    I love the OGAAT approach. I believe this applies to so many different aspects of football and life (what’s the difference, right?)..

    If all the players and all the fans adopted this mantra, we’d all be so much more solid and even-keeled; rolling with the punches, if you will.

    It really makes you appreciate just how much pressure Arsene is forced to take on his shoulders. Obviously he doesnt have the luxury of OGAAT as he’s piloting the ship.

    Thanks AW, you’re a stronger man than I..

    AW

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    And what have you done to Terry Smiley Smiley? Never shows his gorgeous gob here anymore! 😉

    And how is Rocky nowadays? Do you still ‘speak’ to him?

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey TA, Cheers… Yeah, you’re right, no injuries from the Int’ls is a huge positive and a good counterpoint to the small setback for Wilshere and the huge one for Welbeck. I guess I didn’t want to get into it given that injury news is so often misinterpreted (wildly, IMO…) by some comment writers here. Ozil, I guess was rested for the Newcastle match so he could play with Germany and, perhaps, Koscielny was rested by France so that he would be available for us. My guess is that there’s a lot more communication between National team managers and AW than that which is shared with the press (and, thus, the public). I’m not too worried about our home form, but I found that one stat just amazing (9 wins vs 18 losses thus far for home teams in the league)… I think our supporters could do better, but if you pay your money (even if you don’t…) you can do as you please…

    This match–even on the back of an Int’l break which surely saw more action for our boys–seems a good one and they will miss the cynicism of Adam and the physicality of Shawcross out there. They have others who bring such elements (Erik Pieters and the American, Geoff Cameron, are tough guys)… Stephen Ireland is a talented but mercurial player but one who hasn’t always kept himself fit enough to play a full 90.

    PG, Theo IS fast and I like it when he plays and keeps moving to get more involved in the match. I’d love to see him switching flanks or occasionally popping up centrally in a fluid front 3 with Alexis and Giroud. Ozil, Ramsey and Santi could then play as a fluid group in our 2nd line of 3. That, of course, excludes a dedicated DM (Coquelin), so if it were to backfire the pitchforks and torches would be out for the manager. As such, I’m betting on the line-up as published.

    I don’t see a healthy BFG and a healthy Arteta, our two primary captain figures, both healthy and both on the bench, which maybe begs a question or two about the captaincy. Personally, I wouldn’t mind Arteta (also in for Coquelin, who did nothing wrong, mind, up at Newcastle…) running a rotating group of FBs in Spanish and slurring his commands (so they sound like Brazilian Portuguese… :D… ) for Gabriel. More likely, I think, AW will remain (very) conservative with the lineup with rotation (and our fine squad depth) to take on more of a role in our midweek travels, both far (Croatia) and near (Spurs)…

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    That is true, AG, Wenger is made of strong stuff. Year in year out he deals with a lot of sugar, but he looks after the ship alright!

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Thanks AG… Nothing but respect for our manager and I’m very pleased he’s taking a hard line against this recent response to the window closing w/no action. Results are the only true gauge…I think we just have to get our heads right and do all the little things to allow our superiority to shine. So prepare well, plan well (for the longer term) but come match day, nothing but pure focus…then, once it’s over, onto the next one… OGAAT in the extreme, is the only way…

    RA, sounds like your doctors believe you can also do OK with the OGAAT approach so I wish you the very best…Good luck!

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes, 17, I am very happy that Adam is not playing. There are few players out there I dislike more than the vile, nasty Adam.

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Courtois out for three months…. but Cech is a Gooner 😀 😛 🙂 😀 😆 :eggonMaureenface: 😳

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, you can’t blame the manager for injuries…or can you?… 😀

    Big test ahead for young Begovic (and old John Terry…) Ironic that Chavs play Everton (and John Stones) tomorrow… There’s a story in there about all the deals which fell through or where players didn’t get the move they wanted (Stones, De Gea, Berahino, who else?…) I wonder how Chelsea, RM and Spuds fans feel about their clubs not.doing.enough. to get their man…

    Probably, it’s all about results and as long as there’s footy to be played and your team wins everything is OK…

    We know we’re playing tomorrow…fingers crossed on the other part…

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    I blame Mourinhohoho for everything, 17, even Cockie’s dark admiration of the self-loving skunk 😛

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Citeh will be missing Silva with an ankle injury – Palace will be a toughie for them. Away games after interlulls or CL games are often v tough.

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    I concur that Mourinho is not my favorite character… He was not well loved by the Merengues I knew in Spain, either… First Dr. Eva, then benching JT, now Courtois… (not to mention those results vs Swans and Palace…) And I thought I would have to live on the (delicious) irony of Sideshow Bob knocking them out of the CL last year…

    😀

    Speaking of PSG, maybe we should’ve spent the money on Cavani…He’s already got two at halftime vs Bourdeaux… Keeper might’ve done better (a lot better) on them but Cavani did his part and showed strong technique…

    I think Palace is another of the teams who (so far) have done better in their away matches… In other words, ankle injury or gotta play my (record) buy(s)?… Some inneresting matches this weekend fo’ sho’…

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    I’d love it if we were to sign up Dr Eva. 🙂

  24. Gerry says:

    Err um, gentlemen. Where does this constant recalling of the TW sit with ‘Time to move on’?

    If you must talk about Chelsea, let me remind you that Hazard is still king of the assists. 100 last season alone, and his average per minutes on the pitch is better so far this season? In fact, they might score more when the refs start to oblige and give more free kicks for fouls on Costa? From what I have seen of their highlights, it is a bit like Wilshere, it is the opposition who get the free kicks on the player?

    I am not sure AW will take the conservative route over rotation either HT? The games coming up in midweek are important, and need to be won, as well as the league points at the weekends. We are fine to rotate in some areas as long as we do not get any more injuries. Full backs for example. They both need game time, but I am guessing that Koscielny will be used more selectively. From what I read up about his back problem, it could come back at anytime. If he was kept out of the Newcastle game in the hope he would not play for France, it clearly flared up worse when he trained for them? As you say, more goes on behind the scenes, but for the French to say in public what the problem was does indicate that they wanted to distance themselves from any blame? Either way, I cannot see him making the trip to Croatia if he plays today. More likely kept back for the Chelsea match. But only if he comes out of today’s match okay. It is possible he will be rested today to save him for both the Chelsea and Spurs games that follow this pair, as Leicester away might be the one to miss?
    In short, too much at stake to keep going too long with the same eleven players. The above is just one example. It is not about the being tired at this stage of the season, it is about keeping them fit. Each and every game needs to be ticked off as ‘injury free’ as one or two could have a knock on effect.

    But sticking with this game, I think the bench needs to have a better balance between defenders and attackers, and from the training photos I see only Joel Campbell there who could change the outfield players to 3, with the 3 defenders (by dropping the CB cover, and use Monreal or Debuchy, who are already in the squad). As it stands, it looks like we are preparing for a 1-0 win, with a possible 75 minutes of hanging on to the lead … which does not inspire a lot of confidence? I think J C needs some game time if he is going to be involved in both the Zagreb and Olympiacos games, as I think he should. We need to broaden the at every opportunity, particularly in the striker positions? J C does offer both central and wide options, and short of going for Iwobi or ‘The Jeff’, he is in pole position.

    My prediction? I stick with 2 goal hero, Alexis Sanchez, for MOTM 😀

  25. RA says:

    A [UK] Good Morning to all, 🙂

    Thank you for the message at 19:30, TA, – have to say my career has come to grinding halt in the years since we met – but I manage. 🙂

    I was tickled by 17ht’s acronym suggestion that OGAAT might be the way forward – so I googled it for a definition, and it self corrected and said ‘a goat’.

    Now I know what it really means, and I think it is very good advice. Thank you. 😀

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, your first sentence makes no sense to me whatsoever, neither does the follow up. My young daughter uses the word ‘random!’ for moments like this…. 🙂

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders, keeping up a career must be hard indeed. Luckily, you is smart and I bet the female customers keep coming back for more. 😀

    One Game at a time – OGAAT! Or ODAAT – D for Day.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    A Goat is what poor Terry thinks it’s all about! 🙂

  29. FLO8 says:

    Great preview 17! I think your predicted line up is what we’ll see. What I am hoping for though is:

    GK: Cech
    RB: Bellerin
    CB: Gabriel & Koscielny
    LB: Gibbs
    CDM: Coquelin
    CM: Ox
    CAM: Ozil
    RW: Walcott
    ST: Alexis
    LW: Ramsey

    Should be a good game! Hopefully we can get the win and score a couple of goals! COYG!

  30. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Great post 17ht..
    17ht.. TA.. Do Ozil fit for tonight game..?? I though he is still injured.

    I wish Giroud and Walcott both play.. They need to get back fan’s heart.. For that was the important thing for them rightnow..

    I want to see Ramsey and Cazorla as our double AM.. And Coquelin as our single DM..
    Gabriel deserve to play.. Either with Kosceilny or Mertesacker..

    It a must win game.. Moreover Stoke lose some key players.. 2-0..

  31. JM says:

    Match referee: Jonathan Moss
    PL matches in 2014/2015 involving Arsenal: Arsenal(home) 2-1 Crystal Palace(away), Arsenal(home) 3-0 Stoke(away)

    4th official: James Linington (mainly officiates in the Championship & lower leagues)

    ====

    My MotM: Mesut Ozil

  32. Gerry says:

    TA – You are quite right, because if you are like most people who come on the blog you read the posts that have been posted since your own. However, for other people like myself who read the time line of messages as though they are continuous chatter will get the link.

    I found it ironic that the first two paragraphs of the post were looking backwards at recent events, and the declared ‘Time to move on’. Actually, I thought that was agreed a couple of posts back?
    So when I read more ‘nothings’ concerning the transfers window, including a little too much glee at Chelsea being reduced to their replacement ‘keeper for the one we bought off them … and if ever there was something to tempt fate and give us swipe back, that was it :EVIL: – So my comment was my way of saying can we ‘move on’. Especially as regards Chelsea, whom we meet very shortly, given their problems are immediately in front of the ‘keeper, but are more than capable of outscoring any blips at the back?
    Has that cleared up the random moment for you?

    Anyway, I think that it is good that most people in ‘blog world’ have no idea who will start up front, or in midfield. Which probably means Hughes doesn’t either?

    However, reading between the lines, and seeing the training photos, I get a stronger feeling that Kos will not start today. If that is the case, I hope he is not on the bench either. It would open up the space for Campbell, and may be see him on for the last 20 minutes? It also means if we start with Gabby and Giroud, then throw in Per and Alexis as well, and we could be very dangerous at set pieces?
    I think it is slightly misjudging the reality of things, to say if we play Giroud we must put crosses in. He does not score many headers for one thing, and he can be doubly marked in the box if he is our sole striker, is another reason why that is not that simple. As stated earlier, my preference is to get someone to play near him, just to give him the extra space to score with his feet. Alexis is the one who will attract defenders towards him, so should open up spaces for others to score, as well as Giroud?

    Sadly for me, this 3 o’clock kick off is going to be my first game I am going to see ‘live’. I cannot see it being Sky’s top game either, with Chelsea starting the kick off’s, but you never know?

    Cheers

  33. Gerry says:

    JM – I don’t mind your MOTM either. I was thinking more along the lines as who is given that award, rather tan who might deserve it 😀
    Everyone loves a goalscorer don’t they?

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Just mind your own business and don’t try to be smart with your passive aggressive bollocks, Gerry. It does not suit you. There was no need for you to butt into Seventeen and my conversation. move on.

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    He would have saved that, he would have save thaaaaaaaat, Petr Gunner Cech, he would have saved that! 😛

  36. JM says:

    No Mertesacker, and Walcott starts.

    Starting:
    Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla(c), Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Walcott.

    Bench:
    Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Arteta, The Ox, Campbell, Giroud

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting, are we seeing a shift up-front? Theo started against the Barcodes as well. Hopefully he finds the net to ease the pressure on Wenger for making this change. 🙂 CoyG!

  38. JM says:

    (a) To let Ozil work with 3 mobile players in Alexis, Walcott & Ramsey.
    (b) To save the much maligned Giroud from further scrutiny by the media & alike; ease in from bench when required only.
    (c) Mertesacker, recovering from flu, kept under wraps for the trip to Croatia, Zagreb next midweek; for a good start in CL campaign.

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    THEO!!! Great tackle Le Coq, Ball over the top from Ozil…. After so many missed chances and saves from Butland… More please…

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    I am not able to watch as it is a 3pm kick-off and am actually working, so please give us more details, Seventeenho! 🙂

    Really happy we scored before the 35 minutes mark. I reckon that was key.

  41. AB says:

    Me too 17 – just tracking on the web. Sounds like we have been battering them for the first 30 min before we finally scored – but hard to judge if they have been defending well or we have been wasteful with our chances? More goals (for the good guys) please!

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey TA… Very one sided match but we’ve missed some golden chances (Theo open header from Bells was the worst…) and Butland has gotten some hands and body to balls that were goal bound… The goal was as described with Theo bringing the ball down very nicely and sliding it under the keeper in good fashion…

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds like we are still lacking that bit of calm before we are to take a chance, but then Theo came good. More of this in the second half and another clean sheet seems to be key as well. CoyG!

  44. AB says:

    If Theo can relax a bit now he has his goal, he has the ability to be clinical when the nerves don’t hinder……

  45. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi AB, 2nd half is on…

    In the first, our movement was causing them a lot of trouble. Alexis hit post twice but the first one was actually a Butland save. The goal Theo scored was much tougher than the open header he put over… Their couple of counters are purely improvised, i.e. they can’t keep the ball at all… Kos and Babby…Actually the entire rearguard plus Le Coq are right where we need them when we need them… Still tense as long as it’s only a single goal…

  46. AB says:

    Great to hear that the defence is operating as a unit – even without Mert. A surprise that he is not even on the bench – I didn’t see anything suggesting an injury. We should have goals in us – Sanchez and Rambo must be itching to score, as well as Theo to get more…..

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Woeful shot from Ramsey into row Z after lovely buildup from Alexis and Ozil…

    Shaqiri high angled shot well saved from Cech… Not over until we get a 2nd I fear… Oooh Theo almost gets through on the ensuing break…

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    Careful, careful…Gabby clatters Diouf but he’s flagged for offside. Too aggro there…and Stoke looking a bit more dangerous and very direct when they get the ball… 2nd goal would settle things…

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Yep would be great to net that second. Almost time for Ollie I reckon. 🙂

  50. AB says:

    Our shots on target ratio is pretty woeful. And they have almost as many from far fewer opportunities. A second needed indeed.

  51. AB says:

    Oli and Ox perhaps?

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    More good work down the right but Theo’s touch shot on Bell’s cross too soft and straight to Butland

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    This group is playing well… Ozil blocked at the near post just now… And they’re not getting the ball at all

    Wow… Another save from Butland, Theo had him 1 v 1…

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not good there from Gabby… Gave the ball away and then an elbow to the head as Stoke countered… No censure, however… And Arnautovic may have started the shoving…

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud misses wide!!! Stoke went to clear and Ollie, offside, but with the ball off a Stoke player cannot convert… Not good…

  56. AB says:

    Are we queuing up to shoot here?? The stats suggest we are just pinging away…., if not to much effect sadly!

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi, what a move, but drags the shot just wide….

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Seems almost like we’re tired of Butland making saves so now we’re aiming for posts but going wrong side of them… Ooh…Had a break on but Ozil passes straight to defender…

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Let’s give Ollie some time to warm up! 😉

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox and Arteta coming on…for Ozil and Alexis… Trying to shore up the 1-nil, I guess…

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox, playing like a bull on the left gets pulled down by Bardsley…FK and GIROUD scores it!!!

  62. AB says:

    Giroud – thats what we needed; and he needed!!!

  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi puts it on his head at the near post… That should do it… Bojan goes reasonably close,,,Cech had it covered, I think…

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kos almost heads home from another Santi FK…Butland saves at full stretch… 😦

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    really happy with the second – fucking brilliant and Ollie supersubs! 🙂

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow, stunning play here at the end of the match…Giroud should’ve had a goal but was held back. Stonewall pen, IMO, but not given…

    Match finishes with a Stoke corner well defended…

    Full time…. 3pts…

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    five out of seven home team winning, two drawing. 😉

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh shit… Man City score in the 90th at Palace… Iheanacho (?) with a put-back from a saved but not held Nasri shot… 😦

  69. AB says:

    fantastic day, and only spoilt slightly by the late city goal. Clean sheet and two home goals, both coming from our main strikers. Perfect. Now for the chavs – can we finish off their season???

  70. njk84sg says:

    Yes.. i think we should try to infiltrate the northern oilers and cause their players to suffer some sort of agony..

    At least we scored 2, the Stoke keeper is really fantastic and we managed to put 2 past him. I watched the second half, so i didnt see how much work did Cech put in but he was quite quiet.. Mikel came on and gave us more defensive stability, which was creaking from the stoke attacks.

    At least we can taste second place and stay 5 points away from the oilers. Chelski lost, so the table looks a little messed up below.

    Cheers,
    JK

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, you’ve got mail…blog issues again, I fear… 😦

    Sounds like not too many got to watch the match… We were really all over them and kept their threat on the break to high angle and long shots. Gabriel brings more pace and physical presence to the rear-guard (and will score some set piece goals at the other end) but might need to clean up his act to avoid cards and sending offs…

    Up front, our movement was very good and we made chances almost at will. A few off target and even more saved by Butland were all that kept this from being a big scoreline. Chavs, with their backs to the wall in this early season will be a different challenge, however, and we’ve got the midweek travel as well…

  72. The Cockie Monster says:

    Still 5 points behind Mansour City !. 😦

    We need to win all our remaining league games to win the title from them by one point !. 🙂

  73. The Cockie Monster says:

    If Sunderland can beat the Spuds, the Spuds will drop into the relegation zone and almost certainly cure my erectile dysfunction !.

  74. The Cockie Monster says:

    Actually !…….a draw between Manshafter Std and The Bindippers will probably get the ball rolling as to speak !.

  75. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    Arsene knows that I know. 😉

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, Wenger says every night, thank feck that guy lives far away in Herzegovina! 😀

  77. Admir says:

    Hahahahaha, and he would be wrong! 😀

    Actually, Herzegovina is a region in Bosnia (the one Boro Primorac, one of our coaches, comes from). People from Herzegovina are well-known for their sour humour and vineyards. They have a sense for business (Zdravko Mamić comes from that part of Bosnia and Herzegovina) which is a consequence of not so friendly nature (a lot of rocks) and political issues with the communist government in Yugoslavia (so many Herzegovinians had gone to Western countries to work).

    Bosnia is the part where I come from (North-Western one, 90 miles away from Zagreb). We have a joke at the expense of Herzegovinians that goes like this:

    There was a man who kept saying he’s from Bosnia. It was a strange thing for a foreigner who was listening him so he asked the Bosnian: “Why don’t you ever mention Herzegovina?”

    The Bosnian replied: “Well, I have a brother who works for ‘Water Supply & Sewerage’. When people ask him where he works, he always replies: ‘Watter Supply’ without mentioning the shitty part!” 😀

    Back to “Wenger knows” part. Once he went out with Theo instead of Giroud from the first minute and we actually scored goals at home. 🙂

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahahaha Admir, you do not want to come from the shitty part, I fully understands. 🙂

    Thanks for the background info. I still rather start with Ollie but am happy for Theo that he scored one of his many chances.

  79. Neeraj says:

    Hey All !
    How have you been ?
    Solid display vs Stoke
    Should have scored at least 4 more. But I think after this, goals will come. Theo played well but something about his finishing is off not the Theo who would slot away goals with powerful shots. His shots were just too tame.
    Gabriel has always impressed me and I think he deserves a chance to keep his place ahead of Per. Koscielny was solid. The 2 Spanish full backs make the perfect combination.
    Santi’s balls were great in the first half. But he isn’t taking enough shots is what I feel.
    Ramsey should be played through the middle against Dinamo he is really missing it.
    Chamberlain and Giroud should start in CL too.
    Now that Chelsea lost again they’ll be looking for a strong reaction so Wenger has to be careful. I reckon if we play like we did today and finish all our chances then we should beat the Blues.

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice to see you back, Neeraj, and good observations. How is life treating you, young man?! 🙂

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

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