Thursday 25 February 2010

Stoke - a litmus test

There's no doubt getting three points at the Britannia stadium would send out a very loud message to our title rivals, on the flip a dropping of points would add weight to the arguments that our squad is not up to it in terms of depth, experience and defensive power.

A lot has been said in the last few days and some of the over reaction to Ted's very fair post Sunderland comments was a more than a little wide of the mark. Shouting loudly and accusing people of not being 'proper supporters' is not big, clever or indicative of someone who actually cares about the club. Being a proper supporter for me involves trying to be objective, not jumping on bandwagons and enjoying what I can, it's different for everybody of course.

What I find particularly frustrating is the attitude that some supporters have, they seem to think that the club or manager should never be questioned or criticised in any way at all, this is nothing but bizarre. Obviously we should appreciate what we've got, it's always easy to forget what success we've had over recent years, but sensibly pointing out some recent errors can be a very productive thing, you cannot improve if you do not learn from your mistakes, arguably this is where Arsene has gone wrong in recent years, he has live a little in denial and not seen the wood for the trees.

Anyways Stoke will be tired and it's as good as opportunity as any to get a result in their cauldron of hate. It looks like Sol will play with TV at centre back, there must be a good case for Eboue continuing at right back but he may well not. Hopefully Song and Cesc will be joined by Ramsey in the midfield three, while I'd like to see Walcott and Nasri flanking Bendtner. Injuries will keep Arshavin, Gallas and Diaby out of this one. The key will be weathering the early storm and keeping it tight for the first twenty minutes or so, if we can absorb the early bombardment, then you can guarantee that we'll be able to open them up on the break. However if we concede early as we did in the FA Cup then it will be an entirely different game. Come on you Gunners.


Ted said...

Very good post 1979. Stoke are a very under rated side and their result against Citeh was terrific for them.

I think this is a big test for us, and one that history would suggest we will struggle with.

I loved the pictures of Arshavin, Eboue and Nikki B celebrating 25 years of the Arsenal community program. That made me laugh. And made me proud to be a Gooner.

Let's hope we do the same at Stoke. Come on you gunners!

Anonymous said...

ha ha arsenal scum gonna lose again COYS

Obsinho said...

Stoke are not under-rated. They play old school football with a club motto of "they don't like it up 'em". Some players verge into the land of rugby, and they use long throws continually. However it is very effective, much as a kick in the nuts is an effective but scummy way to win a fight.

At the Brittania they are hard to beat, and we will need a physical display from our bigger lads - Nick, Song, Sol and Tv. Everyone else has to look to get stuck in as well - no-one likes it up 'em.

Rhinogooner said...

I don't think Stoke will feel tired. They'll be brimming with energy and riding a wave of good form. And they'll be confident they can beat us since they've handled us in the recent past.

This match is crucial. Anything less than 3 points is failure. We cannot battle for a draw and then afterward make excuses about "a draw being a decent result against a tough team like Stoke playing at a difficult away ground...."

The good news is, we know what we're in for. We know their tactics. We ought to be training and preparing with a strategy to nullify and counter Stoke's style of play, not just focusing on our own style and assuming that will get us through.

If we aren't practising set piece defense and aren't prepared to give full effort and determination to win lose balls and close them down, then shame on us if we don't win the match. No excuses.

We know the referee will allow excessive, niggly fouling and overly aggressive tackles from the Stoke neanderthals. So no use whinging about it. We need to expect it, and get on with it. And if the referee is prepared to indulge that type of play, then why not get fully stuck into it ourselves?

Arsenal Shirt said...

I don't mind Stoke, but really they do play a little on the dirty side, that long throw still amazes me! but the preperation takes to long haha and they way Stoke use the throw preperation (wiping the ball) to kill time when they are winning is wrong in my opinion..