FA Cup Preview: Stoke City (A)

Stoke City entertain Arsenal this afternoon looking to continue their proud FA Cup record of never having won a tie against the visitors. Rarely will they have been presented with a better opportunity. It is safe to say that this will not be the strongest Arsenal line-up that they could face. It does not mean that those playing will be any less determined, just not the first choice that Arsene would have played were it a Premier League match.

The side though will be more akin to that which took the field at Upton Park than an outright Carling Cup side. Injuries have ravaged the Arsenal squad throughout the season and players need rest with the upcoming run of Premier League fixtures. Abou Diaby is definitely absent, quite possibly from Villa Park as well. Wenger has said he will miss that but may return for the visit of Manchester United next Sunday; Arsene’s injury reports are notoriously inaccurate.

Bacary Sagna will not play due to a shoulder problem which he has been carrying for a while. Indeed, the only regular first teamer you would even expect to play today is Gael Clichy and even then there must be some doubt about that, the needed match time for the Frenchman must be weighed against the possibility of a niggly injury being picked up this afternoon. If he does not play, it is not as if Armand Traore has not made any appearances at the top level.

For once, Wenger is not scrabbling around wondering which back four to play, quite the opposite. It is further up the pitch that his selection problems lie. Eastmond is one youngster whom you would definitely expect to play this afternoon, alongside Denilson who ought to be fresh. However, it is hard to see how Rosicky will be risked, especially with his most natural replacement, Samir Nasri, still busying the medical staff. This means that Fran Merida’s fitness becomes key, the usual creativity driven by Cesc Fabregas missing.

Up front, it appears to be straightforward. Nicklas Bendtner cannot be fit enough to start so a triumverate led by Eduardo with support on either flank from Vela and Jack Wilshere. For the latter and Merida, it is a chance to erase their performances at Upton Park where the game rather passed them by. The Spaniard put in a good substitute appearance at The Reebok and may have started at The Emirates had a hefty Boltonian boot not made a swift and early contact with his ankle.

Much of the focus around the game has been on the return of Sol Campbell. His signing, much like that of Patrick Vieira at Manchester City, is based on reputation with supporters whilst Wenger needed cover, especially with Philippe Senderos expected to sign for Everton tomorrow for the rest of this season. Campbell’s departure from the club three years ago was mired in ignominy. His much vaunted move to foreign fields never materialised although perhaps he lived on the Isle of Wight to give him a feel of not living in the UK, crossing the Solent every morning might have made it seem more of an adventure.

Campbell could not be considered if Wenger was looking for a Premier League replacement but a cup side and the odd league fixture? On paper, he is a decent reserve to have. Not much should be read into the spell he had at Notts County. Many good footballers struggle when dropping down levels, as much an issue with their fitness as it is their inability to accept that the standards of those around them are not those to which they are accustomed. Add into that mix the off-the-field shenanigans at Meadow Lane, the mix would have driven a saint insane.

Whether Campbell can still cut it at the highest level is another matter. Mention of an England recall shows his desire to play on but is surely delusional? Not even the paucity of English centre backs who can even be called international class should permit Campbell’s recall. It would be like recalling Gary Neville, lunacy that the calculated thought processes of Capello should dispel.

This afternoon’s match with a much-changed side will be a tough test. The chance to progress in the FA Cup should not be dismissed and it is not an either or situation when compared with the Premier League. However, instead of berating Wenger for prioritising the league fixtures, we should be celebrating the fact that the younger players are considered good enough to win, going into the match as at least equal to Stoke’s first XI. A win this afternoon might surely quieten doubters for 24 hours at least.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 24, 2010, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 357 Comments.

  1. Finally, first, woop woop. Go Gunners.

  2. we are gonna win 3 – 2.

  3. It never ceases to amaze me the sheer dedication some bloggers have for their patrons by getting up early on Sunday mornings to preview games like today. And then of course there’s the diligence all throughout holiday periods like Xmas etc.

    Many thanks YW.

    I hope JET and Coquelin play. I would be really interested to see how they would fare.

  4. we are gonna win 3 – 2 .

    C O Y G . . .

  5. Commenting from a mob is hard.

  6. I find it hard to think about todays’ game with any objectivity, nothing new there.

    It’s more deciding how much I really want us to win this without our focus shifting from the ‘main prize’.

    I always want us to beat the opposition. We should always do so obviously.

    So, all things considered, I’d put out a strong team today. I suppose I have never been convinced by the need to protect players from injury or tiredness. Winning is what keeps sides and individuals going.

    I know it’s a different world now but how many players did Arsenal use in the first Double season? At a guess I would say 16 or 17 with 13 making up the absolute core of the team week in and week out.

  7. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-1245524/GARY-LINEKER-Arsene-Wenger-bury-myth-champions-spend-millions.html?ITO=1490

    Shame about the rag, but an excellent article on Wenger’s Arsenal.

    Moses, Remy, Smalling could all be with us by Wednesday. Back to read the article now.

  8. Where is everybody. . ?

  9. Good one, YW.

    I completely retract my last line-up guess from a few days ago, as I now think Arsene will choose a pretty strong team.

    Look for the likes of Vermaelen, Clichy and Campbell at the back.

    The F.A.Cup has opened up beautifully with Liverpool, Man U and Everton out and Spurs wobbling:

  10. what are our players doing in training ? why do they get injured all the time ? why other top 4 clubs don’t have injuries all the time ? i’m sick of it.

  11. Cesc and denilson to play with JET in midfield and Vela, Wilshere, Walcott up front. Defence should be Eastmond, Campbell, Silvestre, Traore.

  12. According to the Daily Mail, Victor Moses wants to come to Arsenal!

  13. I heard a rumour Sol was injured (already) – which would leave few defensive options, if Gallas and Vermaelen are rested…..


  15. Is Merida fit?

  16. I don’t think you’ve been to Colney to see Campbell train yet you’re up in doubt. How long did Adams, Keown, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn play? Lauren Blanc was brought in by Ferguson at 35 and played one season successfully for MANU. If Sol is fit, he’ll even do better playing teams like Chelsea, Hull, Stokes because of the physicality and long balls these teams bring into their games.

    Whatever it is, Sol is better than Sylvestre and mistakes-prone Senderos.

  17. I’m going with


    Coquelin, Campbell, Silvestre, Clichy

    at the back – and who would have ever thought of those two CBs a couple of years’ back

    I’d have two of Gallas/Vman/Traore on the bench

    Midfield probably:

    Denilson, Eastmond, Wilshere

    and Cesc on the game-turning bench


    Walcott, Vela, Rosicky

    ? take your point on not wanting to risk Tomo but he may play role of general switching with Wilshere.

    Then there is Merida and JET/Thomas to consider on the bench (with Arshavin/Eduado) or even displacing on of the starters

  18. I recall Gary Neville. A moron and a boot-licker, wasn’t he?

  19. Good post Yogi,

    It sounds as if right back is between Eastmond & Coquelin & Bartley is in the squad too along with Sunu.

    At the risk of upsetting Paul `I mean` Merson I wouldn`t want to see any of our team for Villa lining up today even though Arsenal HAVE to win a trophy this season.

    Whilst the focus has been on the return of Song from the ACN I`d like to have Eboue back ASAP. If the Ivory Coast go out today he`d be ideal for Villa Park if Diaby doesn`t make it.

  20. I think Campbell would be perfect for this game as Amdy Faye and Ricardo Fuller will simply bounce off him. Sol is a rock. I doubt Stoke will allow us much space to weave our pretty patterns so It looks likely that our best chances will be from soaking up the pressure and hitting them on the break as stoke will seek to put us under the cosh with their not so secret long balls.

    I think our priorities are in the league and on the next 4 games. The hacks are out in force expecting us to be battered so it would be great to beat Stoke with our 2nd string.

  21. A week ago, Merida was ruled out for three weeks. Is he back already?

  22. what time is the game pls

  23. Stoke City in the FA Cup, isn’t it? Mmmm. Takes me back to my early supporting days when BBC radio commentary was worth listening to. We seemed to be locked forever in a titanic struggle against Stoke, replay after replay and my memory has me laid in the bath listening on a scratchy little tranny. Tense, trying to judge the outcome of corners and free kicks by the crowd noise as it drowned out the great Brian Butler ans the inimitable Peter Jones.
    The media have tried to diminish the FA cup and blame the managers but it lives on for me.
    Bugger they kick off in just under two hours, I’d better go walk the dog.

  24. Mmmm, scratchy little tranny. Strange how innocent words come to take on new meanings….

  25. I remember those games steww and the commentary. The only way of actually following games live then. Try telling that to young people today…

    There was a long series of replays against Derby, I think. Early 70’s.

    “…and Radford’s coming in like an express train!’. That was against man city. A pass from Charlie. Also a replay in the cup I think.

  26. I think Campbell’s height and imposing stature, should hopefully negate some of the threat from the long throws..

    What can’t be underestimated how much Thomas will be able to learn from Gallas and Campbell over the next year. That lad is already amazing and he can only get better, yet another piece of transfer genius from Wenger.

  27. this place is as dead as dodo

  28. – – – – – – – – – Fabianski – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Coquelin – Campbell – Silvestre – Clichy
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – -Eastmond – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – -Fabregas- – -Denilson – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Theo – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Vela
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – -JET – – – – – – – – – –

    Did somebody say Eastmond was over 6ft?

  29. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Eastmond is exactly 6 foot.

  30. To be fair to Wikipedia, its articles about football are more reliable than its articles on other topics.

  31. Good efforts, everyone, but picking the team today must be a nightmare.

    I suddenly thought this morning – are Stoke much better than Wigan or Newcastle or Blackburn were a couple of years ago? Because the CC Kids beat those teams handsomely. I’m not worried about the team strength so much – I think being away from home is more of an issue. Which is where the older players come in.

    @ Maria

    I see that you and Carlos are to be married this summer. I can only assume that my wedding invitation and Matron of Honour designation are in the post, HMMMMMMMMM????

  32. It could be worse, FunGunner. She hadn’t even told me that our wedding is off.

  33. LA – you were pretty much spot on except for Traore instead of Clichy.

    Ramsey is on the bench – is he walking wounded or has he made a miraculous recovery, do you think?

  34. Pz, I could have told you that your wedding was off as soon as she set eyes on the lovely Carlos.

  35. Fabianski, Coquelin, Campbell, Silvestre, Traore, Eastmond, Denilson, Fabregas, Walcott, Emmanuel-Thomas, Vela. Subs: Mannone, Rosicky, Eduardo, Ramsey, Arshavin, Bartley, Frimpong.

  36. cesc, arshavin and eddy all on the bench

    liking it, feel a vela show coming up.

  37. Oh well. I’ll give Audrey a call and see if she’s still interested.

  38. OMG Fabregas and Walcott, start. So much for taking this one lightly

  39. Arsene, you sly bastard!

    That’s a strong line up we’ve got….a tall line up, and he never even mentioned Ramsey’d be in the squad.

  40. Christ, JET really is massive!

  41. Is Wilshere injured again ??….

  42. Here we go!

  43. Hands up who saw that coming! Plenty of time stay chilled folks.

  44. Ok, so can we for the love of god, stop gifting goals?!

    That was incredibly stupid and embarassing.

    And the commentators can piss off. “Arsene’s gamble” my arse. We don’t have any players to “gamble” with. ffs

  45. the commentry makes me so happy that none of my money’s every going to Setanta. bloody hell.

  46. btw – no way arsene should be blamed for anything about this match. that defending was so horribly poor and its up to the boys on the pitch to right it.

  47. Hey every one,,, any one got a good steam for a poor fellow with no TV coverage?

  48. Stay relaxed. Stoke are at home with a full team playing for the only thing they have any hope of.
    Of course they’ll come at us and make it tough, but we are Arsenal and we don’t bitch and whine we sit back relaxed and enjoy and expect to win.

  49. Yoda look at My P2P

  50. look, see that’s where its wrong. Stoke can play however they want and we’ll beat them. Even at their best they got nothing on out ability.

    The thing that drives me mad is the fact that we give away cheap goals.

    i hate that cunt fuller

  51. Is that a website steww?

  52. We will win it 3 – 2.
    Just wait till everything clicks into gear.

  53. far too many having a mare… actually.. can only really think of traore and eastmond playing well right now.

  54. yoda it’s a site that pulls together all the stream links.

  55. Come on Arsenal!

  56. Passing in the final 3rd is off but we will settle down

  57. At least the itv commentary, as shit as it is, points out the time wasting that the towel routine represents.

  58. Ha ha ha hee hee hee

  59. this is a joke…15 minutes of the game to towel the ball?

  60. Denilson is the deflection king!

  61. So, how many minutes to be added? My guess is 4…

  62. 15 minutes?

  63. 2 minutes?!!!!

  64. 1 minute for each 4 throws!

  65. it can’t be as shit as the Setanta commentary…

    clever play by Cesc and Denilson!

    Two players I really want to see get better are Vela and Walcott. I know Walcott’s been out this season and Vela needs more games, but so far they haven’t made a case for themselves. They have the ability so I really hope they can get back to their best.

    And how is that 2 minutes added time? Delap must’ve spent at least that much fondling the ball!

  66. cesc’s been consistently magnificent but I hope we take the lead and he gets taken off for a rest. I dont’ trust stoke and he’s too important for us.

  67. It wasn’t really a deflection. The ball might have touched a Stoke player, but its trajectory wasn’t changed significantly. Not one for Lampard to be proud of.

  68. I sincerely hope refs start booking him for time wasting. Early in the game. Be great for the twat to be sent off for it. Two bookable towellings. He’d be unique.

  69. What a fucking joke this towel crap is? So is it ok now for every team who wants to waste time to dry the ball before taking every corner, throw in, free kick, goal kick and penalty?

  70. Stoke ought to get some hairdryers at pitch side. The Bolton team might be able to lend them one, so long as they get it back right after the match.

  71. i know G4E it is a joke.

    So, a game against stoke is not only more of a rugby game than a football one because of the opposition and the pitch, but now the game’s only 80 minutes.

  72. Watching the game on a stream and the commentry is the worst I have ever listened too.

  73. When Stoke played Portsmouth, Hreidarsson did not like the time wasting and in the second half when Pompey got a throw-in he started to always ask for the towel and took a looong time to do it.

    The ref was clearly displeased but could not book him ’cause Delap had of course done it all the time. In the end one of the ball boys (or towel boys?) refused to give the towel to Hreidarsson 😀

  74. Nice to see John Hartson at half time.

  75. COYG. The away support has been absolutely awesomes as always, But wtf was up with only 2minutes added time for Delaps towel shennanigans. In cricket its called ball tampering…affects the trajectory of the ball.He should get a yellow card for time wasting. Theres one for you anorraks at FIFA. 2 more in the second half to send Stoke to bed.

  76. They look really shit at the back we should bury them.

  77. Why do our corners allways seem over hit,, a whipped in ball to the near post or centre of the area is so hard to defend against and only need a deflection of any body in the area?
    Just a thought

  78. who is that fucking Stoke #4?
    he was grabbing fabianski

  79. I never criticise our players in public. So I will just say that Almunia is deservedly our number 1 and leave it at that!!

  80. Fabianski having a tough day…

  81. The big guns are coming on.

  82. Sol is playing very well. JET did what we know he can – great to see Rambo fit already.

  83. JET did really well!

  84. is it just me or is something troubling Walcott lately?

  85. abid – yes he has had a series of serious injuries.

  86. sell out away capacity owning the Britannia..amazing

  87. That was a bloody handball!!

  88. Yes Steww Sol is playing well!

  89. What piss poor defending

  90. Stoke not you Yoda.

  91. I really thought we were gonna score next

  92. Another overhit corner!

  93. Fuck this is pathetic ,,

  94. Oh dear. Never mind.

  95. Now the players should just avoid any contact…no use getting injured at this stage

  96. Meh. Good experience etc.

  97. Traore can piss off. He doesn’t need to come near the first team ever again. Our defending has been poor

  98. Why am I not upset?

  99. No injuries please n no bloody 4th goal!!!

  100. I am upset, we should not get beaten bye anyone,, in any competition, I know thats not realistic but I hate losing,, O well..

  101. When the vets came on we chased the game too much to me, couldve settled for the draw and win in it at home.

  102. traore and silvestre forming the left side of our defence was always asking for it.

  103. moderation?

  104. Worse game I have seen this season 0issed that fat old man scored against us though twice!!!

  105. It’s bottom of our priorities right now. The only danger is the drop in confidence that might come with losing, but I doubt that’s going to happen this time; we’re much maturer than in 07/08.

    Of course it’s a shame, but nothing to get too upset about. Especially now we’ve got important players coming back for the big games. Good to see Ramsey fit again, for one.

    Oh, and JET could be absolutely unstoppable in a few years.

  106. Forgot that losing feeling till awaiting the comeback!!

  107. may wenger shouldnt have played fab arsha edu at all

  108. Not a lot we could do really. Too many injuries, not enough cover to the extent that we needed to play 3 reserves and the need to preseve all our players for Villa.

  109. eastmond is going to be a player for us and england for the next decade.

    as will JET.

    theo needs a good 10 games in the starting line up, fully fit before we can judge him.. at the moment, i cannot see why he would get ahead of lennon and swp for the world cup.

  110. The usual awful commentary on ITV. Tyldesley could barely disguise his glee. The twat.

  111. Damn this shit.

    fucking joke cant believe it.

  112. I will always be upset when we lose. This was not a good performance.

    Stoke won deservedly. We got this one wrong.

  113. how fecking slow was tydlesy on the uptake of that 4th goal being ruled off?

  114. That’s the only fucking reason people in stoke-on-trent aren’t unemplyed or redundant, u can always find a job wiping the ball for fucking delap

  115. Walcot is really going to have to step up if he wants to make the World Cup. Might actually work in our favour.

  116. Our people seriously upset that a team that started with TWO first team starters went out of the FA Cup? Get a grip. We don’t need any more fixtures.

  117. I think we shouldve settled down and maybe take a draw.

    A little gung ho, when the vets came on.

    Such is life, we have PL and CL titles to win!
    God bless!

  118. Agree Mr. Bob, there isnt much to say, we were soundly beaten.

  119. Yep, Muppet. Agree with that. That was the strongest team we could have put out under the circumstances. Imagine how you’d feel if Gallas or Vermaelen had had that clout from Delap!

    Still gutted, though!

  120. Barely disguise his glee? Tyldesly didn’t disguise his glee at all. At the end of the first half he actually said “we’re” just going to have to hold out until half time – when Arsenal had those four corners in a row. Wanker.

  121. Agree totally oofus it was great to see Ramsey back we were a tad light in MF so it’s great to have him back……personally my eyes are trained on league this season and wasn’t seeing JET finally join in with the 1st team just fantastic!!

  122. I thought the game was in the balance until Stoke got the second, which came just as we were upping the gears – Sidibe made a perfect cross. I had to mute the commentary for the second half because ITV is the worst.

    Well played Stoke – the key is not to let it affect the next game.

  123. if we played gallas and vermalen, we would certainly still be in the cup.

  124. we can’t blame Arsene for this. He did the best he could given the circumstances. At some point the players on the pitch need to step up. The club needed them today and Arsene put his faith in them so for 90 minutes they had a responsibility to give it their all.

    Saying that he shouldnt have played Arshavin, Ramsey and Eduardo is crap. We were getting nowhere before they were introduced and its not his fault that Traore decided to pull a vanishing act or that Walcott still hasn’t found his feet or any other reason.

    I’m unhappy with Walcott because his injuries were unnecessary. Arsene TOLD him not to play for both national teams during the summer. Walcott knew how Arsene felt and went on and defied him. And now we’re paying the price for that. Maybe he could’ve gotten injured anyway but his loss of form is down to him.

  125. Really disappointing that we have 5 or 6 players who played well within themselves.

  126. I’m with Muppet; our hands were tied for this one. Vermaelen and Gallas needed a rest. It’s asking way too much of Rosicky and Eduardo to play 90 minutes away at Stoke before the run of games we’ve got coming up.

    I mean, just look at out injury list, to which you can now add Sagna – and Wilshere, who seems to have gone down with a bug.

    And on top of all that, Stoke is one of the toughest places for a team like Arsenal to get anything. The pitch is as narrow as a wicket, and we have to adapt our game to suit what is essentially a different code.

    Anyway, roll on Wednesday.

  127. Villa is a must must must must must win.

    You cannot even emphasise how important that match is. we have to have to win.

  128. A blessing in disguise (except for Merse).

    Eastmond & JET went well but Fabianski, Vela & Walcott were poor today.

    Clive T is just about to get in the Stoke bath

  129. Still more miffed by the score line than team.Oh well we can’t all feel the same way.

  130. Now thats done with, bring on villa .

  131. Regardless of who was on, it seems our tactics were wrong in the last part of the match.

    We thought we would kill them when the vets came on and it got worse.

    Shall we put the blame on Traore? Fabianski?

    The team lost because the team played poorly on a whole.

  132. i would have been very happy with a replay. why am i saying this im just making myself feel even more crap by looking back on the game ffs.

  133. well Stoke needed this one more than we did and some sacrifices had 2 be made along the way. Im sure the press will be at it again with the whole Arsenal dont like it up em mantra tommorrow. We played reasonably well but the old legs in the defence definitely tired at the end making it easier for Stoke to capitalise.Poor defending for all 3 goals at the end but Stoke bever gave up. The best result is having new injuries. We will back here in the league when it counts. We will sock it to them then. Onwards and Upwards.

  134. Its true with the ever mounting injuries, players HAD to be rested.

  135. Where’s the blessing or the disguise? Crashing out of the FA Cup in the 4th round is not a blessing, it’s undisguised disappointment.

    Having said that it’s pointless to moan about resting players. If you play your best team, and they’re prioritising the next game, you can lose.

    Man United lost to Leeds with perhaps the strongest team Red Nose had available. Ditto Liverpool.

    There are no guarantees in football…

  136. I thought we were fairly in control until Denilson gave up chasing Sidibe and allowed him to cross.

    I wonder if they will show that stat on a chalkboard?

  137. Matt,

    Rubbish comment.

    But Denilson did cost us the game with that act. Complacency at its worst.

  138. was that entirely denilson’s fault? Where was Traore?

  139. *Are, obviously.

  140. I agree with Matt. This game was exactly like Man City remember, 1-1 and it looked like we would take control and from nowhere they score- then score again dammit.

    cant blame denilson it would have been 3-0 if he hadnt scored.

  141. A player can be out of position, and team mates have to cover. Yes I hang it all on Denilson.

  142. stoke-on-Trent they should rename it to

    I can’t say I’m not gutted, I just hope this is not the beginning of the down trend.

    And, let’s hope Egypt do us a favor and knock Cameroon out of the ACN. We need our song back.

  143. Why is it rubbish if you agree?

    I am only stating what i saw with my own eyes.

    A professional footballer on god knows how much a week, giving up chasing a player in a 4th round FA Cup match.

    Yes, i am pissed off that we lost, but wouldn’t mind so much if certain players didn’t visibly give up.

  144. Whether he was covering or not – he visibly gave up on it.

    Everyone could see it – in fact Hartson commented on it afterwards.

  145. we’ve only got 1 Song,

    we’ve only got 1 Song

  146. denilson gave up and silvestre did not close down the cross

    and fuck knows where traore was

    all in all, a diabolical goal to conceded.

  147. Paul N can’t believe you of all people is looking for a young player to ‘blame’ tut tut. OG on the other hand’s reaction is expected reminds me of an angry old uncle of mine. Gentle as anything but loves a good old moan.

  148. The only advantage that can be taken from the game is that it would have hurt. We don’t lose many games and if that lights a fire for the upcoming league fixtures I can live with losing today. The next 20 odd days are going to be massive and could very easily define our season.

    I was also pleased with Campbell’s performance, I feel a lot happier with the idea of him being backup than I did pre match.

  149. Rubbish because of the silly point about stats.

  150. well at least chelsea didnt lose imagine how pissed off we would have been!

  151. Our starting line up contained only two first choice players, and it was all too obvious today. Those two were involved in everything that was good for Arsenal.

    I’ll give credit to Silvestre for his bravery in continuing after getting hurt.

    Our substitutes didn’t make much difference. When the players know a match is not a priority, it takes something away from them. Denilson and Fabregas, of course, put in a lot of effort, but not everyone can say the same.

  152. the other problem the likes of vela and co have… they only play a game once a month or so… so they are never really fine tuned to give it.

    tricky balancing act.

  153. It was hard to understand where that second goal came from. They shouldn’t have scored.

    I am with Ole though, it was certainly no blessing in disguise. A defeat is a defeat is a defeat. It can’t do the team any good nor the individuals who took part.

    I don’t like ‘resting’ players, never have. That was not the strongest team that we could have put out. It was a team that might have won but one that got found out.
    How’s things Paul?

  154. Let’s suppose Denilson did give up. At least he waited till well into the match before doing so, instead of giving up before he even stepped on the pitch.

  155. What’s the latest SOng could return from the ACN?

  156. Matt & Ole G…Stop and look at it again, Denilson maybe stopped chasing because the difference in pace was obvious he will not catch up with him.

    My question is, why leave Denilson behind in that deep position in a corner? Denilson should be up the field and Traore (With Pace) should be in the back covering the break on the corner.

  157. Sol is the MAN!!!

  158. hopefully egypt knock cameroon out tommorow and then song will be back for utd next sunday.

  159. G4E – Agree with you on that, reminds me of Everton’s goal a couple of weeks ago.

  160. come on egypt then!!

  161. I’m with consolBob and Ole on this one; I’ve never been a big fan of resting players. That said, 3-1 is a bit harsh on us, and we do have the worst possible run of PL fixtures coming up, so I can understand why Wenger had to do it. I love the FA Cup, though, so I’m pretty sad at the moment.

  162. Arsenal fans wishing for Cameroon to be knocked out of the ACN disgusts me. Song has played well for us game after game this season, and we owe it to him to wish him success in something that is important to him, even though it is perhaps not important to us.

  163. The blame game is going to start now.Calm down everybody. I don’t think we lost because of the myth that we couln’t cope with their physical strength the last 2 goals we conceeded were soft but thats what happens when you are fighting on three differents fronts and don’t want to settle for a replay add to that the amount of injuries we have. we could’ve easily seen the game out for a draw but we pushed for a win and let ouselves exposed, It wasn’t to be,at least something is out of the way and we need to concentrate on the league and the CL. Throughout the game I was hoping Fabregas does not get injured, We have a tough run coming up and we need our top players injury free, it would’ve been nice to go through but its not a priority.

  164. Sorry, Ole, I guess you didn’t make the point about resting players.

  165. G4E,

    In modern football, players get caught out of position. That’s why managers detail defensive midfielders to cover for them. If that was RVP in the corner instead of Denilson, he still had to be decisive.

    The problem is not that the striker went past him, it’s that first, he had a chance to go in with a tackle as Sidibe controlled the ball, and second, Sidibe isn’t so fast. Denilson gave the guy the chance to play a perfect cross. Under pressure, he was more likely to cross into the stands.

  166. i am not a supporter of alex song.

    i am a supporter of arsenal football club.


  167. Lets be honest Stoke would give anyone a good game on their day. I am alo gutted about the score but I’ll live.

  168. At least we have a few players coming back over the next couple of weeks.

  169. Maria, read again. I said “should” we blame them?

    Then i said we played poorly on a whole.

    In other words lets not focus on individuals but the whole.

  170. All said and done the key problem was injuries. Take 9,10 players out and your chances are really restricted.

  171. If Cameroon are knocked out tomorrow Song could play at Villa. He can change on the plane if he has to.

  172. we’ll see what happens at villa. here r my temas for then and sunday of course..



  173. Sorry Poliziano…a bit selfish I know, but I’m also disgusted at the timing of the ACN, especially in a year when there is also a World Cup in June.

    I hope “he” does well in the ACN, but that’s about it 🙂

  174. I maybe should point out that I don’t think we lost because we rested players, just that I understand why Wenger rested them.

  175. Mr. Bob, Im good, thanks.

    hows things with you sir?

  176. Anyways…we move on, and I go to sleep. I had to wake up 6am on a Sunday for this game 🙂

  177. poliziano does us hoping song comes back make any difference to what will happen? No. he is not reading aclf and deciding to play bad vs egypt on purpose. unless u are at a game fans have no effect on what the players actually do. secondly who gives a shit nobody’s in a very good right now. the only thing that could cheer me up is if man shitty lose

  178. between good and right i meant to say ‘mood’

  179. Have to say Campbells performance was great Surely Walcotts position as a first team player is now under threat!

  180. not surprising-citeh are 1-0 up. just watch chelsea draw wigan/notts county at home.

  181. Very well, Paul, very well. This is our year, I think.

    1lc, I don’t see any need to tell people to calm down. I’m not reading any diatribes on here about the defeat or untoward criticsm. Lacklustre team performance. Not our best team.

    I can’t take all this ‘not a priority’ nonsense, though. Think about that on Cup Final day. When did we all agree that the FA Cup doesn’t matter?

  182. Walcott, plays one game then gets injured, how can he be judged?

  183. Our year indeed!!!

  184. Our defence went fukin awol at the end there. You could play any players in mid and attack but with a defence of silvestre,campbell,traore n fabianski your always in danger of conceeding. well now we know Campbell will be just as liable as he was prior to him fukin off down south. Yep Denilson ran like a one legged tortiose in their 2nd goal but i thought he had a good game overall.

  185. consolsbob.

    i think its because the fa cup particularly the final used to be the biggest thing in football, since then the epl and the champions league seem more ‘exciting’ and all that shit.

    yes i would rather win the other 2 but getting to the semis last season was a fantastic occasion. lets face it we had it easy last season,

    plymouth home
    cardiff away then home
    burnley home
    hull home

  186. Walcott has had several chances and has not stepped up to the mark. His days are surely numbered!

  187. ok


  188. If we win on Wednesday this will be forgotten – 9 of the likely line-up then were absent today. Lets hope they rested well.

    Worryingly, we are developing a habit of throwing games where we look well in control. Very similar to Everton, 1 each, we are looking the better side and forcing the game, then we give away a really stupid goal. Same as man city earlier in the year.

    Also echoes of 2 years ago. A shadow team goes away in the cup, doesn’t look interested, we get thumped.. Then we go away to Birmingham. Let’s hope this isn’t a repeat.

    Great to see Ramsey back, he looked very sharp until he gave away the ball stupidly for the second goal. Vela was open and calling, instead ramsey played it into traffic and we got done on the break. The midfielders can’t give the ball away when the full-back is ahead of them, it kills us every time.

    Oh well, at least we rest whist the chavs go on a cup run. We win the next 2, no one will give a toss about today. We win wednesday we are top of teh league.

  189. Our only weak point is our covering Cb’s.

  190. Seriously harsh on Walcott there. His season has been blighted by injury. It’s late January and he’s barely managed 90 minutes for us yet. All he needs to do is string a few games together and the form will come.

  191. Scunthorpe 1-1 Citeh

  192. “Denilson ran like a one legged tortoise in their 2nd goal.”

    I would have thought Denilson could have run a bit faster; but since he was one of the few who had actually exerted himself, he was probably tired.

    When we only include two first-choice players in the team, I think it is fair to conclude that the match was not a priority. I thought we could have used a couple more first choice players, but it was not my decision.

  193. Sc*nthorpe 1-1 Citeh

  194. It isn’t fair to judge a player on one match, especially such a one as today’s was.

  195. i cant wait for wednesday.

  196. If we want to find people to share Denilson’s blame for the second goal, look at Ramsey who made a stupid pass and then made no pressure on the ball, & Silvestre who should have been out to cover for Denilson much quicker, since he had Sol & Eastmond to cover in the box agaist Fuller.

  197. PZ, its good to know that that team with only 2 first choice players held their own at 1-1.

  198. OG, there is enough blame to go around for this one, isnt there?

    Thats why I think this is a match to just let go, it was just plain poor after the subs.

  199. football’s a team game dnt forget….

  200. Disappointing performance.

    How many saves did Sorensen have to make?

    Irrespective of the team that was sent out, I still expected Arsenal to get at their back four. We just didn’t do it today.

    Better team won – leaves us with a few question marks over a number of these “squad” players, not least Theo Walcott who was anonymous and let his head go down far too easily.

    Big performances required in the next 2 weeks.

  201. hopefully a win vs villa will erase this from the memory. anything other than 3 points against villa will not do.

    Everyone talks about this ‘period’ and then it’s easy. then we have sunderland, stoke, burnley, hull- all teams we have struggled against.

  202. Well i certainly dont blame Denilson for the 2nd goal. if i had to blame then Campbell would get my vote for not getting to the ball infront of the only Stoke player around.

  203. There are some similarities between today’s match and the one against man utd, but I think that today’s performance, though worse than we hoped, was considerably better than the one a couple of years ago. In the match against utd, we seemed lucky whenever one of their attacks didn’t result in a goal. Although the defence today made some mistakes, it didn’t on the whole look fragile. I felt shattered after that game against utd, and I imagine the players felt much the same. I don’t feel that way today. In fact, I feel the match today could easily have gone our way.

  204. so from now on, its ok for Cesc to run off to our dugout to towel his boots before a freekick right?
    or when we’re winning, maybe Almunia can do that as well…towel the ball before he kicks it? heck, maybe we should all towel the ball before getting one of our rare penalties.

  205. We didn’t even put them under sustained pressure for anything but the last 4 minutes of the 1st half, and when they we did it looked like Stoke was going to crack.

    Then we went back and stopped playing 2nd half.

  206. yes it could have but it didnt end of story now get yourself together arsenal and beat aston villa.

  207. A pitch as spongey and pot-holed as Stoke’s does no favours to our passing game but is especially detrimental to the games of players like Walcott and Vela who, running at players with the ball on the turf, find themselves having to stutter and wait for the ball to catch up as it sticks in the pitch and catches between their feet.

    It wouldn’t suprise me if the Stoke towel boys and girls had been slipped a few sheckles to go out there last night with rugby studs, trowels and gardening forks.

    The initials TNT emblazoned on their hotwired Mitsubishi Warrior. Towels ‘n’ Trowels.

  208. Hmmmmm

    I thought some players just didn’t stand up. In defense Fabianski, Silvestre, Traore were utterly anonymous throughout the game. Denilson at midfield should, as a first team player been influencing a game like this. He showed neither capacity nor will. Walcott and Vela up front were, as usual, toothless at this level. In fact, I would now prefer that other players be brought forward to provide some semblance of competition such is the poverty of choice in both Walcott and Vela.

    I felt sorry for JET who at least tried despite the overwhelming lack of service.

    And people talk about strength in depth……..We couldn’t even beat Stoke in probably the one competition we have the best chance of winning in a season. AW has promised to deliver silverware this year. Try as I might – I just can’t see it.

  209. in the end, for me my disappointment is always when we don’t play well and lose.

  210. I’m avoiding the papers today…oh god, nothing worse than hearing about an Arsenal crisis, Arsenal’s lack of English backbone, people gloating about our defeat or all combined into one piece.

    Wish people showed us some love once in a while.

    I enjoyed watching Cesc today as well. He’s become such a commanding presence.

    Wish some of the others would follow suit. Diaby’s gone and done that and look at him now. Same with Song and Vermaelan.

  211. and the Song thing. I’d love him back but I agree with what was said a while back, I hope he can come back on his own terms/at his own satisfaction.

    He stayed back late for us remember? He could’ve left early with Eboue but he stayed back.

    So, I don’t want Cameroon to lose just because of Song. I want him back fully satisfied with his performance there and hungry to join us again.

  212. @ Pz

    The only uninjured first choice outfield players who could have started were Gallas and Eduardo. Eduardo came on when AW went for the win. Gallas needs the rest. AA is carrying an injury, Vermaelen and Clichy are injured (but should be OK for Wednesday), even Ramsey is just coming back from an injury. I don’t think any more players should have been risked. The inescapable facts are that you can’t play the same players for every game, and that we have been badly hit by injuries. That means a compromise has to be made somewhere along the line, and the FA Cup just is not AS important as the the League and the CL. That said, the team to day didn’t perform as well as it should have. Doesn’t mean we would have won, but we would be a bit less gutted.

    How about this for a putative second 11 – Fabianski, Eboue Djourou, Campbell/Silvestre, Gibbs, Ramsey, Nasri, Diaby, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela.
    OK, there may be some debate about my choices, but all those players are pretty experienced and would be in the groove with each other. That shows that we do have the squad for three competitions. This is another chapter in the injury story.

  213. The fa cup was there for us to win this year but Wenger obviously knows our weak point is defence so kept it for the league.

  214. Ah well. Onwards and upwards.
    I see the miserable bastard Joe is in his element already.

    These FA Cup rounds always have banana skins. It was great to see Coquelin, Eastmond and JET out there they will have gained a great deal of experience from that game. And Sol just fitted right back in.

    The first half was horrible, those fucking throws take years and really do kill the football. The commentator even expressed the view that all teams should have a long-throw ‘expert’, what a prick. Bit like Joe really. Shame the Stoke supporters didn’t even bother to come to the game…mind you I am not at all surprised.

    Villa on Wednesday. Different game altogether.

    ….Country mile….

  215. This wasn’t the final or even the semi-final, DukeGoonem.

  216. The FACup is never there for anyone to win, Dukegoonem. It is a tricky competition set as it is between very important league and ECL rounds.

  217. GOOD FROM TODAY.SOL showed how much better than Sylvestre he really is so we now have some cover at CB
    Eastmond beginning to look like a regular





  218. I thought we saw a lot to be proud of.

    After the early mistake by Fabianski we settled down and took charge.

    JET looked the business.

    Coquelin looked poorer than I’ve seen before, but suspect that was nerves because I thought he got much better as the game progressed.

    Sol had a good game imo. I’m very comfortable with him and Silvestre as our backups.

    Despite our passing not being up to our usual standard (I’m sure the pitch had a bit to do with that – it looked like it was plowed up for the new crop last week possibly), I thought we looked a class or more above.

    We were (as happens quite often), rather overambitious and wasteful in the final 3rd.

    We gave away the two critical goals AFTER the senior players had come on.

    It looked like a statement of intent at the time (the triple sub), but with 20/20 hindsight vision, perhaps it unbalanced the side at a critical point?

    Easy to offer critique after the game, it seemed very positive at the time.

    Analysing it, AA23 gave the ball away rather poorly which led to Silvestre getting hurt.

    Likewise, while Ramsey is still very young and will get this out of his game, he tends to dwell on the ball a little long, and it was his give-away that led to stoke’s second.

    Something similar happened for the third.

    We give the ball away far too cheaply, so I think it’s very unfair to blame the defenders for the sloppiness of the forwards when they keep giving the ball away really cheaply when keeping it simple would serve us far better (this happens with the first team as well btw).

    Walcott is a bit of an enigma.

    I think he’s a very valuable, but very specific weapon.

    He is not a starter in the vast majority of games imo.

    He needs to come on when specific oppo are tired and leaving space.

    He doesn’t have the same level of skill as other Arsenal players, so playing out of a tight spot from a standing start just isn’t going to happen for him (which makes the contention that he is “playing out of position and should be a striker” even stranger for me.

    Frankly, if he can’t cut it out on the line where he has space and a line to run against, how on earth is he going to operate in the middle of the pitch where he needs to have staccato movement, turns, control, orientation and it’s far more crowded?

    Playing on the wing is a hell of a site easier than playing in the middle, which is why so many forwards move out of the middle so often during games and try and work inwards rather than try and find space and turn in the centre.

    Running on to through balls in the middle is the exception, not the rule. The rest of the time it’s about close control and movement, receiving the ball with your back to goal, which is not in his locker.

    On the wing he gets far more balls to run onto at pace and space to accelerate.

    Maybe he just needs a run, but can we afford that right now? Vela also needs a run, but he looks a way better prospect, so how many passengers can or should we carry?

    As an earlier poster pointed out, Walcott’s current poor form has a lot to do with him forgetting that apart from paying his wage, Arsene also knows a bit about what is good or bad for a young player.

    He thought he knew better, and he’s paying the price for that stupidity.

    I hope we start seeing a lot more of JET, he really looks strong and skilled, I thought once he went off we lost our bite up front.

    I thought Eastmond looked very capable. In a year or three he should start looking really good.

    Traore is going through a bit of a rough patch atm, but we’ve seen enough quality from him to expect that to improve.

    Ramsey has a few issues to sort out, but he has plenty of tim to mature and develop, imo he’s way ahead of his age at this stage.

    All in all, very disappointing to go out, but I understand why AW played the team he did.

    I enjoyed watching the “prospects”, and it always gives me a lot of hope going forward.

    I guess I only feel disappointd cause I thoguht that despite not playing our best, imo we were by far the better side and should have won, especially against neanderthals who can’t even remember that notlob got it up the ring from us, DESPITE the attempts at bullying.

    On a side note, what about that tackle on Cesc right near the beginning?

    I saw absolutely no difference from the Gallas tackle apart from the fact that it was a lot later and actually DID look intentional.

    So are we going to hear the media scum go mad over it?

    Personally I’m not going to hold my breath.

    The depth of your prickishness is truly unfathomable.

  220. I said:

    The depth of your prickishness is truly unfathomable.

  221. Yes I know I read it. The comment before that though was far too long for me to read. I just wondered what it said. Was it any good?

  222. Thought Coquelin was good defensively but poor going forward, Heartening

  223. @ Solgooner
    Coquelin played RB to very good effect in the Carling Cup last year. Eastmond played RB in the youth team last year and now plays CM. Gibbs played LM until Wenger asked him to fill in at LB in the CC two years ago. They can adapt.

    @ Joe
    Sneering again? We DO have strength in depth. Take a look at my notional second 11 list. What we unfortunately also have is 10 injured outfield players out of our 25, plus two unavailable.

  224. positives :

    “a man after two chickens catches neither”

    it’s ok..this might be a turning point in us winning the league..we can focus solely on the remaining competetions…win the next two games and nobody would give a damn about this game anymore

    negatives / le-groans –

    jet didn’t look impressive at all
    silvestre was shaky
    the team , apart from the first 15-20 min in the 2nd half never found it’s rhytm , but then , this was a second string team

  225. @mikesa

    “Playing on the wing is a hell of a site easier than playing in the middle”

    not really as simple as that – most players although versatile feel comfortable in their strongest position. so if a player belives he is central oriented and comfortable he will do a lot on instinct and naturally rather than having to think about what to do next. Gallas plays better in centre than on left, so to ramsey, nasri, arshv, so to Van P, Bent, Vel and id say walcott. His goal scoring record as a striker when he was younger is very impressive.

    I think thats whats effected walcott the most is he constantly having to think rather than react on instinct. Look at his liverpool run and his england hattrick.

    Nice to see him grow some balls though as he seems a bit more aggressive on the pitch

  226. Arsene Wengers Flying Circus

    Our best player was Sol

    Awful were Denilson.Why did he give up for the 2nd goal.
    Flapianski Didnt catch one ball in 90 mins
    Vela What the f**k does he do???
    Theo The most overated player in the premiership

    What the fuck did Wenger tell the players in training in the run up to the Stoke game.Last season their first throw they scored.Today first throw they score.Will we ever learn?

  227. anyone who had any doubts about Campbell can forget them. He was good today

    Flapianski you are allowed to catch the fucking ball.Muppet

    Someone tell Traore defenders are supposed to DEFEND

    Theo fucking hopeless again.And he thinks he’s going to the world cup.dream on

  228. Also credit to stoke (made me feel dirty) but the earned the right to impose their game (kick us legally all over the pitch and pressure us in our final third) on us.

    I think the young team were unlucky but needed to win the pysical battle to impose our game.

    unfortunately we were’nt able to, still good learning curve for the yongsters and a bit of motivation for the first team to get revenge.

  229. Why do we have to win a trophy to be happy? I am very happy just because i support the Arsenal, i am very lucky to support them and so are all of you. Once we win a trophy, whenever it will be this season or the next season or the one after that- it will be the best feeling coz of the wait- if we win it will be with this team, that’s for sure.

  230. frank, how do u know he thinks that are u a close friend of his? no so shut up you moron.

  231. remember when we used to win trophies for fun 2000-2005 i can’t even remember the cup final vs southamptoon can any of you?

  232. Gallas we love you

    The FA cup is now like the Carling cup who really gives a toss about domestic cups?

    If we played a strong team and we picked up injuries we would be slagging off Wenger

    If amazes me why so many Gooners travel away for the Domestic cups.Get this into your heads Wenger is not bothered about winning them

  233. let me have a guess gallasweloveyou-

    maybe they support the team?

  234. Gallas we love you


    So you’re happy to see Chelsea and Man Utd pick up trophies every season and we dont.Piss off Loser

  235. of course i’m not happy. i just don’t complain and slate my team so fuck off init.

  236. “The second half was one of the best performances by Stoke I have ever seen” Stoke fan on 5Live.

    Another reason to be glad you’re not a Stoke supporter. Beating Arsenal Reserves with goals against the run of play – best performance ever.

  237. …We are arsenal…we are arsenal…
    we are arsenal nd we dont care.

    Judging by our luck, we would have faced chelsea in the next round had we gone through, played a weakened team coz we would be in a gr8 position, get thumped, and draw our next 4 matches with someone getting seriously injured in the process.

    we avoid a humiliating defeat similar to manu 2 seasons ago. It was that match that derailed our season not the birmingham one.

  238. where is Tunday, i hope he hasnt followed someone off a cliff. i’d like to know if he still thinks fab is better then al.

  239. Limpar. they don’t judge the performance on the football m8. They judge it on the way the towels are handed to delap.

    ”ooh he handed over the towel with sheer class”

    ”brilliant retrieval of the towel from ballboy 17”

    ”none of the towels were dropped or mishandled, this has to be one of the best stoke performances of the season”


  240. hahahahahaha Limpar Assist. Too true.

  241. hie zap you nincompoop
    looking very happpy tonight..

  242. piss off u donut.

    btw the milan derby is tonight-inter vs acm

    of course i will be watching ivorycoast vs algerie…

    chelsea get another walkthrough draw, cardiff at home.

  243. Theo is getting slated unfairly by many here and it looks as if they haven’t learned their lesson by now. If people are doubting his talent, let me remind them that everyone of our youngsters, with the exception of Cesc, has gone through this type of learning curve. The difference is that Theo’s learning curve has been made longer by his numerous injuries. Will he come good? I don’t doubt it. With some continuity and confidence this boy is going to be great.

  244. POLIZIANO WITH all your superior knowledge and expertise what was prickiness about?

    Frank and many others thought Walcott, Fabianski were lousy as was Denilson.


  245. Some people tend to forget that Theo is just 20 years old.

  246. Gallas we love you

    Did you see Troare put his head in his hands after the third goal?And so he should.I have never seen a full back who doesnt track back as much as he does.Clichy better stay fit

    As for Flappy he makes Almunia look quite good.Who the fuck coaches him?tell him he ia aloowed to catch the ball every now and again

    Sol Campbell looked like he had never been away.Welcome back Big Man

  247. I agree with everything Pz, had to say today. Especially the part about comparing this loss to Manu’s last year. You’re a star!!!

    We have the strength in depth, but with so many injuries, it can’t possibly cover 5 big competitions. And it wasn’t like we couldn’t have won the game. The team on paper was good enough to beat stoke, the players didn’t perform as well as expected. So be it. Could have lost the game with the regular first team as well.

  248. Don’t worry your pretty little head FG. Afterall:

    Our squad is sooo deep than we can’t manage without injuries right? Its just that our injuries are worse than everyone else’s? Poor Arsenal – getting beaten up again this year by those bully boys. We should have a little perspective.

    We’ll win everything, again, just like we do every year, by a country mile. (Frank I think your a star..!)

    Everyone that plays for us is just great. Because if they weren’t we wouldn’t be true fans – and some people might think we’re doomers right?

    Stoke were just lucky! How dare they score three goals. Pure luck.

    Poor little Theo is just back from injury right?. And it doesn’t matter that he’s done f*ck all for his entire career to date – he seems to be a nice lad with great potential and we should be grateful to have him and just blindly continue to accept his total lack of application…..

    Its all down to the poor support the fans give. They should sing all night and stay in the stadium four hours after each match. How dare they question the maestro – because the maestro is always right. We should be happy to be the good little sheep we are.

  249. Almunia/Fabi/Mannone

  250. Denilson is shit. He hasn’t improved as a player unlike Song who is now on the rise.

    Theo was pathetic. He needs to sort it out.

    Disappointing result but what did we expect with so many youngsters on show. I thought it was disrespectful to Stoke who are a good team at home and very hard to break down.

    Wenger got what he deserved.

  251. When i read YW’s preview of the game i was amazed that he thought we were going to try and win the game.If we were we would have picked a strong team.Not a 3rd string

    Wengers attitude to the FA cup has been the same since 2005.It is not a priority and never will be again.Last year we got to the semi’s because we had easy draws

    Wenger targets just the CL and the Prem to think otherwise you have been asleep for the last 5 years

    I am not disappointed about todays result because i didnt expect any other result
    Just look at the teamsheet on wednesday and you will see the real Arsenal today was a 3rd team

  252. Well said Red Rufus. You are right, Wenger doesn’t care too much about the FA Cup. His key priorities are the CL and EPL.

    I’m also not too fussed with this result. It may be a blessing in disguise as its more important we win either the CL or EPL.

  253. I didn’t see the game as I was out and not near a TV and I’m as disappointed as anyone with the result, but I don’t see the sense of finding someone to blame for the defeat since it won’t change the result. If there are players who didn’t do their best the manager will take that up with them individually. The FA cup run is over for this season, but we still have a chance to win the PL so let’s put this one aside and move on to the next battle.

  254. RR

    i agree.I said after last seasons semi final we will never win the FA cup again under Wenger he just doesnt care about winning it,the same goes for the Carling.When the CL kicks in its a hinderance.Remember in 2004 the FA cup cost us the chance to win the CL.And our best season in the CL was when we got knocked out of the FA Cup in the 4th rd

  255. @ Joe

    Why don’t you just give up the pretence and go and openly “support” another team? Seriously, nobody is fooled.

    @ Red Rufus
    The team was strong enough, they just didn’t perform up to expectation. And every uninjured first-team player bar one played in that match.

  256. you’re surely not complaining about 2004 ken?

  257. It’s hardly surprising that AW focuses on the UCL and League.

    The winner in the FAC gets a whole 1.8m pounds, woopeee.

    The prize money for progressing though the various stages is even more pathetic.

    The UCL is in a completely different universe in comparison to that sort of money, hence the importance of doing well in it and getting a UCL placing in the league.

    That sort of “trophy” might be nice in the cabinet, but in real terms at this end of the scale where it’s serious money, the FA Cup is unfortunately just a nice littel bauble, nothing more.

    (Still disappointed we lost though).

  258. Oh I see someone is impersonating me again.

    For the record I am a great fan of Fabianski and Armand Traore. I don’t really care whether Theo goes to the WC or not and I am not sure that he does either. He needs a run of fitness to get his confidence back…and wears his furstration on his sleeve. he carries a heavy load for a young man.

    I would also add that I am not very interested in todays game. In fact much of it was a bit of a joke. If the English want this sort of game from week to week then good luck to them. Seems to me that not even the Stoke supporters can stand it, judging by the lack of attendance.

    Once again I have a lot of respect for the Arsenal supporters who made the journey. If you had not been there it would have been a soulless affair indeed. There appeared to be no atmosphere in the stadium at all. It sort of fits Pulis and his team.

  259. Gutting stuff today. I really thought we were going to win the fa cup this season. But like you say Passenal, let’s put this behind us and hope that it drives the team on to win comprehensively in the next 4 matches. Come on boys! We can do it!

  260. Mike SA, having that ‘trophy’ in our cabinet is still a massive boost in confidence for both the team and the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade. Totally agree about it beng far less important on a financial level though

  261. @ Joe

    No other team has had injuries of comparable severity or number for anything like the same amount of time. Our strength in depth is what hauled us back into the thick of the title race after falling 11 points behind the leaders.

  262. On if he regrets his team selection…
    “No, I had not much choice I must say. Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen and Gael Clichy could not play and I think Sol Campbell had a good game overall. If you look at our schedule you cannot always play with the same XI that is for sure. If you rotate and you don’t win it is your fault so I can only stand up and say that is the team I picked. We have 10 injuries and we are going into a period where we cannot rotate a lot in the big games.”

  263. Exactly. Every uninjured outfield player bar one took part in that match.

  264. Just got back from the game, I thought we were poor overall but it’s not the end of the world. My prevailing memory of the day was what must have been a 10 year old Stoke fan giving a w*nker sign to the Arsenal fans!

  265. Exactly FG – we are down to the bare bones. Finding XI fit players to contest the game is an achievement in itself!

  266. After the ‘run of games’ coming up, there’s another visit to Stoke awaiting.

    This result may help AFC in that away game, regardless of results in the upcoming run.

    I thought JET might play in midfield, but that might have meant a front three of Sanchez, Walcott & Vela. Agree with some points about the selection above, but considering that Eddy and TR7 are half a season back after almost three years out between them, I’m glad they were given a rest. Gallas and the Cyborg needed rest and maintenance too. Did anyone else notice the nature of Vermaelan’s cool precise robotic movements, the red flare in his left eye before he volleyed that goal against Bolton. Definitely needs an oil change, or they might be on to us. If you thought the p(l)unditry was comical because our manager is French, wait till people find out our new CB isn’t human.

  267. @ Passenal
    That’s certainly how I see it. I was having kittens every time a challenge came in on Fabregas.

    Please, please, please ye footballing deities, let this be the high water mark for injuries.

  268. Now exactly sad to miss City away. With our fixtures in the league and Europe, plus the injuries, a saturday off is probably a decent consolation.

    If we had been given the chavs draw we would be strolling through, that is the cup though. We got Porto, which was about as nice as could be in Europe, happier with that.

    The front 3 looked rusty, but people need to cut walcott some slack. He has barely played all year, it will take a few games to get going. Not a bad sub to have, his pace on tired legs will be handy.

  269. Ivory Coast 1, Algeria 0. (Sorry, Zap)
    No Eboue – presumably suspended, not injured?

  270. how much worse can today get for me..

  271. The culprits for their terrible loss need to be found. Denilson, a bullet in the head. Coquelin, too young, a lashing. Wenger, admitted he got it wrong, so, a further inquisition. Let’s leave no stone unturned. A full gooner enquiry. We strap wenger to the electric chair and extract a full confession. Let’s not piss about. Take no prisoners. If a player was below par, a beating, that is the minimum. The directors ? A gun to the head. A full written apology and a refund to travelling supporters. Walcott to be placed in the stocks outside the ground for a humiliation ritual, the medical team to be fired and Silvestre to be tortured.

  272. Its simply not feasible to play the same team for 5 games in 14 days – impossible. Including the 2 (physical) games with Bolton there are 5 games running up to MU next Sunday. AW had no choice but to rest the team today, no choice. Denilson missed the first Bolton game and needs to gain fitness after his long time out. Cesc would not have played today if Wilshere had been fit.
    1. Pleased for ITV. What a shame that there is no big name, good footballing teams left in the competition. Looking forward to a Bolton vs Stoke final this year, or Bolton/Chelsea would be just as dire. Not great for the ratings, but couldn’t happen to a nicer broadcaster.
    2. These reserve players desperately need game time, they will struggle, esp Sylv/Campbell if we have further injuries. An FA cup run would have given these players valuable opportunities.

  273. Algeria have equalised! 1-1.

  274. @ jbh


  275. Wenger is not stupid. He had the air of a man who was totally unsurprised by events in the post match press conference. He knows that you cannot field a team with up to 8 incomers who have rarely played together, facing a northern team on a narrow and rugged pitch, and expect to win. There were 3 reserves, you couldn’t even call them squad players (emerging squad players at best). Walcott has been out for most of the season, and has no form. Denilson has been out for half the season and looks like he is not yet fully match fit. Silvestre has been out for half of the season and is no way match sharp. So all in all, given what we know of Wenger’s scientific thinking, he knew that we would be doing well to win.

    For those whingers out there (like Joe), please, please let us hear your solution. Out with it please. You know what I’m expecting in reply Joe. A general whinge, followed by some nonsense about prioritisation and signings. Tell me Joe, with the 10 players out, what we should have done differently ???

  276. hopefully we’ll have eboue back he’s suspended for this one….he had to get his annual red card somewhere and i’m glad it’s not with us!

    come on algeria

  277. 2 – First team players (Cesc, Den)
    5 – 2nd team players (Walcott, Vela, Sylv, Camp, Fabianski)
    4 – 3rd/Yth team players (JET, Eastmond, Coq, Traore)

    So result is as one would expect, particularly with the awful pitch. Which other team in the league would be that audacious? Liverpool first team (minus Gerrard and Torres) struggled there last week.

  278. Presumably Drogba is playing for Cote D’Ivoire?

  279. Yes, he is. But it was Kalou who scored.

  280. I think that Rory Delap should be asked wear a dressing gown when he plays. A towelling one. he then wouldn’t have to wait to be handed a towel to dry his ball, he could just get on with it straight away.

  281. I was rather more interested in him not coming back to England for a while….or Kalou.

  282. California Gooner

    I didn’t get to see the game — I generally watch every one, but this one somehow didn’t seem worth getting up at 5:30 am for, and I had a bad premonition about it. I have heard and read the commentaries and have a question and a comment. On the question side, it seems that our strikers were pretty ineffective. Does Wenger now redouble his effort to find a loanee before the window closes — someone in the mold of Larsson for Barca and then ManU a few seasons back? Second, a comment. Some players seem to think Denilson is crap. I don’t think we have crap players. But it does seem to me that we have great and good players. The great players — Cesc, Arshivin, RVP, Gallas, Song and maybe even Diaby now take the pressure and create room for everyone else to play. The whole team is better when they are in. The good players — all the rest — perform very well with a strong team around them, but aren’t good enough or in Denilson and Ramsey’s case strong enough to lift the team on their own. They are great when the side is great, but come up short when they are surrounded by other players of their level or lower. There is no other way for me to explain how poorly we have done when fielding seriously weakened teams in the last few years. All the players look good individually or at least promising, but then just get dismantled when they are not surrounded by the stars.

  283. We should issue our ball-children with large pots of vaseline when Stoke come to visit, which they should apply prior to chucking the ball to the Delap freak. We could all then wet ourselves when he attempts the big throw…arms come over but no ball. Tries again same result…and again. Referee issues yellow card for time wasting. Next throw…same again. Delap gets sent off. Alarm goes off supporters wake up and start watching a football match with players actually kicking the ball.

  284. I have to say California Gooner that that is the biggest pile of shit I have read on here for a while.

  285. I was just thinking about the “towel time”. If a keeper can be carded for taking to long with a goal kick why is Delap allowed 25-30 seconds for every throw in.

  286. The Delap throw-in is an abomination. Within the rules. But the time wasting before it is a disgrace.

  287. I agree with Frank. They should stop this bullshit with allowing the f*cker to dry the ball. It disrupts the flow of play, allows his team to get into position and generally wastes time. Pure gamesmanship.

  288. There should have been half an hour of extra time.

  289. Was bloody funny watching Arshavin ready to come on wearing a woolly hat. Wenger leant over and lifted off AA’s head.

  290. @ Frank
    Loving the vaseline idea. Got any on your stall?


    @ CaliforniaGooner

    “seriously weakened teams”
    Isn’t that your answer as to why we struggle sometimes? Injuries (including three new ones since Wednesday) have seriously weakened our team.

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about good/great players. I would have thought it was obvious and unremarkable that no squad consists 100% of superstars and leaders. The good, the up-and-coming and the veterans all have their part to play and until today they have done the business when asked. And Fabregas started the game, by the way. If you were trying to make a different point, please explain.

    Regarding the striker situation, nothing has essentially changed, has it?

  291. *the hat off his head

  292. Stoke have a young player coming up through the ranks whose speciality is firing the ball out of his arse. It’s an effective weapon, but it takes four strapping men with crowbars five minutes to load him up. Tony Pulis has written to the F.A. asking for this delay to be allowed whenever his team has a free kick, and has pointed out how unfair it would be if Stoke are not allowed to use their prize asset.

  293. Kudos to Beckham…he’s no more a waste of space that he’s always been.

  294. We could make this long-throw strategy a bit harder for Stoke to pull off. One way to do this could be to have our subs warming up next to Delap whenever he takes a throw.

    They could speed up the process a little; hand the ball to Delap straight away to make him get a move on, remonstrate with the ref a bit to make sure he’s aware of the time ticking down. Just get in the way, you know.

    And, without obstructing him, our guys could make sure that Delap knows they’re nearby. For instance, why not stand behind him before he takes his massive run-up. It couldn’t be said that you’re interfering with play when you’re five yards away from the pitch.

  295. i know i saw that dups- highlight of the game wernt it!

  296. where’s flamini, not even on the bench for Milan.

    on his way to Money City?

  297. The best way to deal with Delap is to keep kicking the ball out just at a point which is tantalizing but requires a very long throw. It would give us a bit of practice, piss off the rest of their players and, importantly, it would be fun to watch an utterly knackered, wheezing Delap flop onto the pitch face down in a state of unconscious after the 42nd throw in 15 minutes.

    Soon see how the pundits feel about this long throw mallarkey too. It would go from…

    ‘Well I think that every team should have a long throw expert just like the very excellent Rory Delap. Totally within the rules and you can’t blame Stoke…they have to compete with the bigboys some how’.


    ‘ For fuck sake not another fucking throw from this fucking Delap wanker. Can’t these FA fuckers have a fucking word with Pulis. This is boring my fucking arse off…’


  299. I can’t believe this ACN match! Ivory Coast totally switched off there as they thought they were already through.

  300. they scored in the 90th minute 2-1 to them game over but no! 2-2. yes! come onnnnnn

  301. Is that penalties now, then? Or extra time?

  302. Extra time.

  303. Frank

    Stoke will keep using the long throw v Arsenal because it guarantees them a goal.Two seasons running the first throw into our box ends in a goal

    Do you really think Wenger practiced defending long throws in training last week? of course not


  305. Ivory coast 2 -Algeria 3 . What a game. England will have something to think about when they meet Algeria.

    Consolbobby- Listen mate you don’t tell me what I can say and what i cannot say. I told everyone to calm down because everyone is blaming Denilson and Traore for the loss and that is not on, and yes FA cup is not a priority Wenger thinks so otherwise he will not play the youngsters and I agree with him it is not a priority so calm down and get over it.

  306. Just back from Stoke

    The worst performance of the season by far

    Some of our players need to take a long look at themselves

    Theo he touched the ball about 3 times in 60 odd minutes.He was terrible.
    Vela he is the Francis Jeffers of this team.a fucking lightweight
    Troare.The guy CANNOT defend.Has no positional sense
    Denilson.Fucking awful.Ramsey is 10 times better than him
    Fabianski-Didnt catch one ball.

    The only two players who can hold their heads up are Cesc and Sol

    The 4,500 of us who travelled deserved better

  307. Q:Why didnt Flapianski bother to get a swine flu jab?

    A:Because he never catches anything

  308. ‘Well I think that every team should have a long throw expert just like the very excellent Rory Delap. Totally within the rules and you can’t blame Stoke…they have to compete with the bigboys some how’.

    That made me laugh as well. Clive Tyldesley will be commentating when England exit the World Cup this summer. I wonder if he’ll make the connection!

    How nice to see two of football’s biggest pr*cks sent off tonight. Sneijder’s was hilarious.

    Rob, we know that you’re also Ken, fake Frank, Red Refus, Gallas We Love You, Arsene Wengers Flying Circus and so on. So why not stick to one name? This has been going on forever now.

  309. “for ever”

  310. @ OOU

    I’m going to reveal my pedantic streak by congratulating you on that correction. It warmed the cockles of my heart.

  311. According to the OED, there is no difference between “for ever” and “forever”.

  312. Kolo Toure disallowed goal in injury time when not offside
    The football gods are working ha ha

  313. I’m gutted, Drogba is out. I was not thrilled with the gamesmanship by Algeria in extra time and Ivory Coast was robbed by a poor line call with a perfectly good equalizer ruled out when it was not offside.

  314. passenal- Yes it was a good goal but over all I thought Algeria wanted it more and they could’ve scored few more they did everything to cross over the line. Drogba looked like a pussy cat he really didn’t do much but not happy to see his face soon, lets hope he stays a bit longer and go on a safari or something.

  315. Algeria deserved to win overall, but their gamesmanship with the goal keeper faking serious injury took the shine off for me. I also didn’t want to see Drogba back here so quickly too! I can’t believe how crap he has been in the ACN – why can’t he play like that over here?

  316. Pz

    Shame, then.

    At least we get Eboue back. And well rested. Sagna has been carrying that shoulder injury for a while.

  317. Hi FG, I’ve been trying hard to cut out little mistakes like that. It’s taking forever.

    It seems that it’s always one word in America, while some people in Britain, like FG, still insist on two. Apparently there’s a distinction to be made between “for all time” (for ever) and “continually” (forever). Could be wrong.

    I was told by my boss the other day that you shouldn’t really use “ever” unless you want to say, again, “for all time”, because it covers past and future. So something like “Arsenal’s highest ever goal tally” is meant to be wrong .

    You get to the point when you don’t know whether to stick to rules, or just, you know, be a bit more laid-back about these things because people understand you either way.

  318. Passenal unfortunately gamesmanship is part of of the game its nothing new The italians the Argies have won wold cups with gamesmanship and worst cheating. Drogba looked worn out, did not do a lot of running around and that is a sign the legs are starting to go. He has one more season left in him, so we will see the back of him soon.

  319. My boss is quite uptight btw.

  320. Yes 1lc – it’s pretty hot out there and he has clearly been suffering. At least Eboue will be back and hopefully as he did not play today he can rejoin the first team quickly.

  321. Bradys right foot

    jbh on January 24, 2010
    at 8:13 pm

    1. Pleased for ITV. What a shame that there is no big name, good footballing teams left in the competition. Looking forward to a Bolton vs Stoke final this year, or Bolton/Chelsea would be just as dire. Not great for the ratings, but couldn’t happen to a nicer broadcaster.

    LMAO, now is it just me or is the sheer contempt for Arsenal from that guy who commentates on ITV reaching new levels. He is to commentating what Fergies little jig is to dancing, (you know the little routine he does every time the Mancs score,) a clear manifestation of evil.

  322. @ Passenal, 1lc,

    Maybe Drogba finds the heat debilitating. Serious suggestion – he has played football in England for years and may have become unused to the additional demands imposed by heat and humidity.

    @ OOU
    Interesting – he is distinguishing between two adverbs, I think.
    I was taught to distinguish between using it as an adverb and using it as a noun with these sentences:
    “I will love you for ever.”
    “Forever is a long time.”

  323. Passenal

    D’oh! You’d already mentioned the heat. Sorry.

  324. Anyway, that’s me off to bed.

    Here’s to hoping we take out our frustration on Aston Villa!

  325. I’ve done some research in the full Oxford English Dictionary.

    “For ever” in the sense of “for all time” seems to be the prefered usage in British English, although the single word “forever” in the same sense has a good pedigree, having been used since 1670. “Forever” in the sense of incessantly is used in U.S. and British English.

    There seems to be no truth to your boss’s claim that “you shouldn’t really use ‘ever’ unless you want to say, again, ‘for all time’, it having been used otherwise since the middle ages, as well as by more recent writers such as Addison who were known for the purity of their English.

    Samuel Johnson said, “Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.”

  326. Shouldn’t that be “Who ever” . . . . . . . no, don’t bother.

  327. California Gooner

    Thanks for the furious response to my earlier question. I guess i have no capital all on this board. What I was trying to say is that players like Denilson are excellent role players — he is really one of the best in his league at his job– but get shown up when they don’t have the support around them. It is not remarkable at all (so why make a remark, you ask). Simply I am suggesting an explanation for why a group of players who are quite good can collectively be not quite good enough. Anyhow, enough said — I’m not going to stress the point.

  328. I thought we had given up on over-reacting after the occasional defeat. It was our 3rd string FFS.

    The whingeing Joe and his ilk are no better than the gloating Potters (or Stokies) at http://northy.footballunited.com/2010/01/24/712/.

  329. As for those advocates of Fabianski-Manone being prematurely thrown to the wolves, I have one message: Almunia was really at fault for all three goals.

  330. People attacking Walcott seriously need some perspective. Everyone was attacking Diaby but after a run of games injury free he has started to prove his worth.

    Theo has had a pretty bad run with injuries and needs a run of games injury free to get back into the groove.

    We are spoilt with a guy like van Persie who can have six months out and still come out and play awesome first game back. Most players are not like that, especially youngsters

  331. Walcott had a poor game. On this form, he would have a problem to be picked by Stuart Pearce for U-21. Why didn’t the kid listen to Wenger? It is so logical that once you have been selected to represent the seniors, why regress by stepping down to the junior squad?

  332. An arsenal with four English men in the starting lineup was an interesting change especially since this wasn’t the carling cup side. And yet maybe the carling cup side might have done a better job. When Arshavin, Eduardo and Ramsey came on things went really awful. The youngsters performed better against Olympiacos which is a side I rate higher than Stoke.

  333. California Gooner,

    Your earlier comment made perfect sense and Frank was just being his usual self.

    I don’t agree with your comment though, as I think even the great players (Fabregas, Arshavin in his cameo) struggled to dictate today.

    Ramsey and Denilson gave the ball away cheaply too often today. That was the main issue. I always feel that Denilson needs a few games to get his rhythm going and Ramsey is still struggling to play at his best on a consistent basis.

  334. To be fair, Denilson has been enjoying a decent spell of goal scoring form lately. One vs Everton, one vs Stoke. In the premier league, he has scored 3 in 11 games, while he has scored 1 in 1 in the FA Cup.

  335. According to one Stoke blog:

    “Not only did Stoke overcome the curse of ‘Lucky Arsenal’ in the FA Cup, …. but football won out in the end. Despite the bleating of the precious Arsenal fans and officials, football is not about tippy-tappying it about in your own half. People don’t come to watch Fabregas spray the ball around the pitch, they come to watch a game of competitive football.”

    No – I didn’t make this up. It told me a lot about the neanderthal mentality that still pervades football today. No wonder English teams have so much difficulty succeeding at major competitions.

  336. Shotta-Stoke have 11 players and a towel. All that time wasting on drying the ball really need to be looked into, they can’t keep getting away with that. But Stoke will go back down in 2 seasons or so. I would not bother with what their fans say.

  337. 1lc

    I would think that Stoke had more than 1 towel. Any way, “11 players and a towel” would do for me as it has a nice poetic rhythm to it.

  338. Never mind shotta, look to history for comfort. The Neanderthals did eventually die out or, at least according to some, managed to interbreed with the rising Homo Sapiens.

  339. 1lc – I am not worried about Stoke in the least. As much as I am proud of a fellow Jamaican i.e. Fuller, I am simply amazed at their approach to football. If that is the prevailing attitude up Norf, god help English football.

  340. Ah. 1lc. What’s your problem? My response to you was perfectly polite. Unlike yours to me. Got an anger problem?

  341. Aren’t ginger people neanderthals??. frank would know.

  342. Is that what happened to them Duke?

    That would explain that awful Chris Evans then.

  343. Pretty disappointed we lost and the manu/chelsea mates’ snide remarks aren’t helping matters. I was hoping for a draw if not a win coz I figured if we drew and we got a return game,luck could be on our side and some of the injured players would be back.We seemed to be holding our own until we made our subs. We cant always get it right and yesterday was one of those instances.

    My only prayer is that the loss doesnt derail us in anyway going into the game against Villa.

    Atleast Ghana and Algeria making it to the semis consoled me though chelsea getting their players back isnt very comforting for obvious reasons.

    I am among those that wishes Cameroon gets knocked out so we can have Song back. Dont have anything against cameroon as a team but going into the difficult games ahead with song will give me more confidence though I must admit Eastmond has been very impressive. if they lose cant wait for a mouthwatering semi btn Egypt and Algeria.

  344. Consols – A number of neanderthal gooners turn up on this blog if we are to go by some of their reactions to yesterday’s setback.

  345. I have to agree with wenger, the young players found it a bit beyond them, but what else could be done with big prem games on the horizon. One thing which has annoyed me today is the way fabianksi has been crusified. I cant understand how one bad game makes a crap player, yes he made a mistake for the first goal but not for the other two. Yes i think its fair to challeng the performances of some of the players, (not the young ones) But looking across some blog sites you would think we were bottom of the prem. Who knows why a team has a bad game but one things for sure, they all do. on to villa park

  346. boomer, that is just the typical reaction of certain sections of the fanbase. All teams lose matches for varying reasons and those who cannot accept this basic fact are the ones who suffer most at times like these. Hopefully the team got their off game out of their system and will pick themselves up for the next one. What else can they do?

  347. The FA Cup being lower priority doesn’t mean we should lose out. Still gutting for me….

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