Stoke City Preview: Making It Up On The Hoof

Never has a team visiting The Emirates been more appropriate. The weather is dull, horrible, drab and wet. Which is exactly what Stoke City are. As well as being incredibly generous as they have rolled over and lost on their last eight visits to Arsenal, a run stretching back almost thirty years.

Wholesale changes can be expected to the team that took the field at Orient, an XI resembling that which took on Barcelona will be enough to beat tonight’s opponents.

Arsène though is paying the price for a congested fixture schedule as Robin van Persie and Laurent Koscielny are both missing for tonight, neither guaranteed to return for the Carling Cup Final on Sunday either. It means a reprieve for Sebastien Squillaci tonight and Arsène praying that no further injuries are suffered.

Whilst Manchester United’s game in hand is against Wigan, it is a brief respite judging by their upcoming fixture list. Arsenal has more volume but United’s tougher journey’s. Frequently the media has pointed out that this fortnight is big for Arsenal’s season. It is but they are not involved in the biggest games; United are.

If they emerge with nine out of nine from their next three fixtures, the opportunities to close the gap will be fewer. United’s next two away games are at Anfield and Stamford Bridge. It would be no surprise if they won both such is their opponents form but equally they have not won at the latter since 2002. Neither Arsenal or United will win every game between now and the end of the season. Who draws the fewest will be key.

For tonight, Arsène has noted a simple tactic to neuter the visitors threat,

What is important for us against Stoke is we [make sure] we have the ball. The more we have the ball, the less they will be dangerous in the air. We will try to dominate the game, as long as we have the ball they cannot be dangerous.

In picking on the aerial threat, Wenger makes telling observations about Stoke. Firstly, they are not so much of a threat on the ground. Secondly, he believes that the media stereotype of them as uncultured long ball merchants is not far off the mark. Lastly, Johan Djourou cannot be rested tonight as he is key to dealing with any aerial threat and there is no-one else to play centre back.

The Britannia Stadium has been a nightmare for Arsenal goalkeepers in recent seasons, unable to deal with the distinguished tactic of hoofing a ball long or throwing it for a considerable distance. Despite knowing what is coming, Almunia and Fabianski struggled until last season in the League fixture when the Spaniard coped to a degree. Szczesny has the frame to deal with any interlopers into his six-yard box and needs to ensure that they are intimidated to do so.

The team I would expect Wenger to start with is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy; Fàbregas, Song, Wilshere; Walcott, Chamakh, Nasri

Tempting as it might be for Wenger to go with Bendtner, he perservered with Arshavin in his spell of indifferent form and it is hard to see him doing any different with Chamakh. The Moroccan did not let him down when van Persie was out injured earlier this season but his lack of goals recently will play on his mind.

It is important for him and the team that he does not let this overwhelm his thoughts; the pressure is on others to chip in with goals already. A misfiring forward only elevates that situation. Tonight is the sort of team whom he will enjoy playing against. Neither Huth or Shawcross is dominant in the air despite their size; Chamakh will only be successful if the right supply is provided though.

Whichever way it happens, a win is imperative tonight. A sneaky one-goal deflection does not count anymore than a flair-filled one-goal win; they still bring about three points.

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

Posted on February 23, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 569 Comments.

  1. Just thought I would sneak in.

  2. After you.

  3. What’s happened to Yogi? Gone crazy? A post like 18 hours before the game.
    ACLF has gone mad!

  4. early post there Yogi

  5. i’m buzzing for this game and ive got my shinpads ready for the arrival of stoke, cmon you gunners!

    From Tony Pulis
    “But in watching that game I can say we’re not on their level, I think everybody accepts that”

    Translation: we r going to kick you off the park!

  6. have you got your whistles ready? I’ve just read your supporters’ group want to hand out whistles! Your support is a joke, still i suppose it makes up for not having any original songs to sing. You might hear the whistles over our laughter.

    1-0 Stoke, Shawcross header from a Delap throw in, put your house on it

  7. oops
    i posted my comment about stoke on the previous post 😉 oh well

    chamakhs going to score..and if he dont he’ll win us a pen in typical chamakh stylee..
    he’ll be back..i dont think playing with nikki helps him really..its abit like the koz/squidge combo..they dont work well
    in chamakh case i think hes of a quiet nature and he takes a back stage to the ‘egos’…
    if hes the main spearhead in attack he’ll do the biz…

  8. if rambos pencilled in and diabys back from injury it will help out massively..
    extra games means extra numbers

  9. ronnie
    id love to put my house right on top of pulis…
    and shawcross wont be on the pitch long enough to score
    your team is a joke…

  10. are any of you going to the match tomorrow? Have any of you ever been to England before?

    I am a little concerned about tomorrow night, my girlfriend is also going and i am worried Jack Wilshere and his mates might beat her up. He has got previous for attacking women and breaking bones after all.

  11. Ronnie, our support may well be a joke, it’s a subject we could debate? But what isn’t debatable, are the Neanderthals that masquerade as footballers in your crappy team and the morons that masquerade as football fans in your crappy stadium.

  12. Ronnie is Ryan Shawcross’s Mom –

    [IMG]http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb289/Chel_C9/ugly.jpg[/IMG]

  13. could anybody please enlighten me as to which of the two teams has the worst record for fouls and red cards this season, i assume by the derogatory coments about Stoke and the way they play that it must be them, i cant believe for a second that it could be Arsenal that have a worse record than Stoke or that there are 17 premier league sides that have conceeded more fouls than Stoke this season, nah that cant be true, can it ??? 😉

  14. Ignore the troglodyte from the dirty potteries. He will know nothing about football being a Stoke fan. We shall sing the old ditty.

    “We pay your benefit”

  15. rule shittania
    shittania rules the caves 😉

    id love to stay and play…..but i gotta sleep..

  16. irishgray – another proper Arsenal fan! how does that work then, Irish and an Arsenal ‘fan’. You gloryhunters are funny

  17. @ ronnie,

    so the fact that arsenal has worldwide support and stoke do not is now a reason to mock them? u really think so in this day of the world being a global village and all that? or you are not aware of what that mean?

    go check how full the stadium is to know that there is no lack of support in england but that does not stop the foreign support as there is room enough for all. the fact London has one of the largest mixture of races in the world should not be lost to you so a guy can actually be Irish and live near the emirates… its hardly rocket science

    common, go read the barca thread on last weeks post on barca for example and see what opposing fans can contribute to banter. this your current attempt smells of jealousy and nothing more than that

  18. Rob, it looks like no one could answer your questions.

    I hope Arsenal do not have to resort to their ‘rugby’ tactics,, seeing how they seem to be the dirtier of the two clubs.

  19. Rob – You are right we have more red cards than anyone and are just over the midtable in yellow cards. Whats your point? Have we broken any of your players legs? And then come out and say that we will continue to play the same way, after our mom came to pick us up from the game…..credit where credit is due, he has continued to play the same way, as he was shit then and he is shit now.

    Ted – Why not put your energy into forming a blog for Stoke? Or is a lack of computers in and around Stoke itself making such an endeavor pointless? Which I think is very ironic as the entire existence of Stoke as a “football” team is pointless.

    Ronnie – Its all in the title you idiot ” A Cultured Left Foot” – in honor of Liam Brady, an Irishman like myself (who I have had the great pleasure in meeting). Not to mention David O’Leary, Niall Quinn (who I met when I was 7 and he was playing Hurling in Ireland just like me, Quinn signed for Arsenal later that year, he signed my hurley too)) So as for me being Irish and an Arsenal supporter I really don’t expect you to understand, I mean you would have to be born in Stoke to support them. I put it down to inbred retardation. Brady was the first “foreign” player to win the PFA Player of the Year Award by the way and he did it with Arsenal, so I guess what I am trying to say is that I support Arsenal no matter where I am, as do many on this and many other Arsenal blogs and I think I speak for them all when I say Fuck You, Fuck Stoke, Fuck Tony Pulis, Fuck Shawcross but most importantly COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. ROB – One last point. Yes we have 6 red cards as opposed to your 4. However, 1 of those should not count because it was in reaction to a tackle that your very own Ryan Shawcross would be proud of. I am talking about the tackle on Diaby, which if you watch in slow-mo, you will see his leg bending but thankfully and luckily not breaking. I take that back, Ryan would be disappointed as it did not break. Diaby’s reaction would never have happened if the ref had shown Joey Barton a straight red. Another red was for Sagna(who even you must admit is not by any means a dirty player) reacting to a racial slur after having been stamped om and kicked by the same player with no action taken by the ref. Once again this would not have happened if the ref had shown a yellow for the stamp and another for the kicking. I do not defend what they did by taking things into their own hands but when the ref is not doing his job in protecting the safety of ALL players I cannot blame them.

  21. Wasn’t the League of Gentlemen’s “Royston Vasey” based on Stoke-on-Trent? You know, the worst place to live in the UK, full of inbreds, weirdos and dole scroungers? Is “Pauline” still looking after you “Mickey, Loves”?

  22. MDGunner – lol if it wasn’t it most certainly should have been!

  23. Isn’t Stoke regularly voted the “Worst Place to Live in the UK”?
    Here’s what some “Stokies” themselves say are the best things about living in Stoke (taken at random from the Internet discussion boards)
    *Oatcakes
    *Other people don’t recognise the Stoke accent
    *Errr – nothing
    *Nothing really..the entire city is a crap pile without a roof over it
    *The tramps
    *When you leave on a one-way-ticket
    *Bacon oatcakes
    *The complete sense of knowing we live in the most depressing place in Britain and still manage a smile, even amongst all the addicts, gangsters and chavs
    *Er…well, it makes elsewhere look better…
    *Really, really nasty people
    *Cheap housing and slappers
    *Oatcakes and the droves of people who actually stand in line outside these establishments on Saturdays and Sundays,waiting to fill themselves with artery clogging lard, cooked bacon and black pudding, to shorten thier dreary existence in good old Stoke
    *People are cool as long as you avoid the smackheads/crackheads/dickheads/football hooligans/arseholes. Out of 250 000 people in Stoke on Trent maybe 30000 smackheads, 20000 crackheads, 100 000 dickheads, 15000 hooligans, 5000 arseholes
    *Oatcakes
    *The buses used to have PMT painted on the side
    *Leaving
    *Oatcakes
    *Port Vale FC
    etc. etc.

  24. Ladies, gentlemen, surely we can rise above this? Do we need to banter with the kind of people who happily chant the name of a man who assaults footballers for a living?
    Stoke may indeed be as awful as the people who live there say it is, the sad deluded fools who posted here earlier may even be representative of the intellectual paucity of their support but we don’t need to lie in the gutter to argue with rats, we can use the pavement like civilised human beings and just stroll past them.
    We are Arsenal, We are superior.

  25. steww,

    Well put. I had a rare run in with Stoke’s away fans at Highbury some years back, as they were getting back on their coach. No major deal but I do consequently appreciate their links with Shawcross. As for tonight’s game…

    I think it could be tricky if we’re not on our game. The first fifteen minutes will be vital. If we keep possession and attack with purpose, I expect us to be 1-0 up by half time and run out 4-2 winners. I guess their awarded 2 goals might result from the aerial threat and Squillaci’s still acclimatizing to the EPL. Either way, as Yogi says, three points is the name of tonight’s encounter.

    COYG

  26. Just ignore him. The pleb.

  27. Curious that none of these Stoke fans mention their pride in the televisual treat of a man being shown on UK terrestrial TV kicking himself repeatedly in the head. Wearing a Stoke City shirt.

  28. rob and ted cant afford to put up a stoke blog. After all it requires you have your own computer and does not have to use the free one at the public library. Its not common to have your own computer in stoke. thats why there are no stoke blogs. they are not aware of any global village neither. It has not reacehed stoke. Its all about true english grit, pubs brawls and breaking bones. Stoke raaawr!

  29. I’ve accidentally stumbled on Pulis’ formula for football:

    success = (
    start_loop {
    hoof();
    hope();
    long_throw();
    hope(); if (fail) try_break_leg();
    } )

  30. Rob and Ronnie’s team is so shit that they have to come to an Arsenal blog to be heard. Suppose it’s better than scrawling their thoughts with chalk on an old piece of slate and passing it round, though most people from Stoke probably can’t read anyway as they seem to communicate through the medium of grunting.
    Nice one lads. Hope your mums pick you up safely after the match!

  31. Allo Amigos – Sissy Fibreglass here – tonight’s game should be good. As usual the ref will be on our side and after I cry and dive a few times he will give us at least one penalty and one Stoke player sent off (for sneezing without a hankie). Our wonderful manager, Arsehole Whinger is really looking forward to the game but will not shake hands with the manager at the end of the game as it would be a sign of weakness. 3 points guaranteed, it’s in the bag – brown paper bag under the ref’s seat in the changing room.

  32. oh, I forgot to mention …. Ramsey’s unfortunate leg break was AN ACCIDENT …. get over it ….

  33. Speaking of Ramsey, it sounds like Arsene will have him streight back in the 1st team squad on his return. Excellent news.

  34. It will be a very difficult game tonight, but I think we will win 3-1. We will go 1-0 down to the predictable goal from a set piece, but once we get into our game we will be too good for them. Cesc (2), Theo, to get the goals.

  35. @Joshua: From yesterday’s comments: “You’d be right in your criticism if we were talking about a normal situation or a normal shot from a distance a bit farther away, then you’d expect Almunia to take a normal shoulder width split- step but because he had to assume that the ball would be at a level above the ground he’d have been wrong to do what you say for the simple reason that he wouldn’t have been able to get enough of his weight behind the ball to counteract the force of the shot and make a good save without a firmer stance than normal. In other words you are criticising him for doing the right thing…”

    I love the way that you think writing 1000 words when 10 will do makes you sound intelligent. Why would Almunia assume the ball would be at “a level above the ground”? Any centre forward worth his salt trains to shoot low and hard, especially when he has as much time as Tehoue did. So if anything, that’s what Almunia should have been expecting.

    Contrary to your obvious opinion of me, I don’t criticise Arsenal players just for the sake of it or because I’m a “doomer” or whatever else. In fact at half time in the Barcelona game I was vehmently defending our tactics against people around me who were saying we should have gone 4-5-1, blah, blah, blah. And in this case, all I said was he made a mistake, we should move on. nolagunner spouted some crap on how people like me should be “dismissed” and you’ve just backed that up with a half-baked argument which doesn’t stack up.

    Moving on, good news about Ramsey scoring last night, hopefully he can be integrated back into our squad soon and get back to the level he was at before his injury.

  36. Rob
    I accept that Arsenal have had more yellows and reds than Stoke. But that is by the written record. When you delve into the sneaky, thuggish, off the ball assaults of Shawcross and his ilk……not seen by the officials, Stoke have nothing to be proud of and at least, Arsenal’s misdemeanors have been open and above board.

  37. ah block 4 give it a rest. you moan like a bitch! get over it. we know you do not like Almunia. we know it. Its inprented behind my eyelids now! i get it. YOU THINK ALMUNIA IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ARSENAL! yes i know,
    Block4 does not like Almunia. Everybody and his grandma knows.
    WIll you stop moaning like a bitch now?

  38. Allo again Amigos – Sissy Fibreglass here – please don’t forget to spare a thought for those poor unfortunate thugs playing tonight … no, I don’t mean Jack Wilshire (he’s not unfortunate) … Stoke players are all brutes and don’t play the ballet football we play …. who needs a ball, just watch our beautiful pirouettes as we dance, jump and dive to the floor. Arsehole is trying to get the rules changed for next season so that throw-ins and passes cannot be more than 10 yards … enjoy the game !

  39. oh, I forgot to mention …. I’m going to play for Barcelona next season, if they’ll have me …. I must stay loyal to my agent and wallet ….

  40. I forgot it was half term. Now it all makes sense.

  41. Ryan Shawcross tackled a footballer. Jack Wilshere beat up a girl. Arsenal fans have no morals.

  42. It’ll be time for din dins soon ronnie, then mummy will probably put you down for a nap.

  43. In other news, what’s going on with hamstring injuries..? That’s about half a dozen this year, looks like a bit of a pattern to me. Maybe something awry with the training.

  44. @poodle, Almunia is patently not good enough for Arsenal, the litany of mistakes are there for all to see. That’s why he’s now third choice! I didn’t make him third choice, the manager did.

    You just have your love-in with those who think that any criticism whatsoever is a sign of a lack of support and keep on not having an independent thought in your head, you’ll feel better for it. I’m guessing you picked poodle as a screen name on purpose? 🙂

  45. @ Fibreglass :

    Your name says it all man.
    Even for your nickname you need an arsenal player.

  46. Ramsey Watch:
    (Aaron) could be available for the second game against Leyton Orient on Wednesday.

    “I have had good reports from Cardiff and I intend to use him. He could not play last Saturday because he had a little hip problem and we demanded that he rest.

    “I think he will play this Saturday again and then we will see if he comes through that game well. After that he is available for Arsenal.”

    Aaron Ramsey scored his first goal since December 2009 as he helped Cardiff to a 2-0 win over Leicester on Tuesday. Fellow Arsenal loanee Jay Emmanuel-Thomas had a hand in Cardiff’s opener when he set up Michael Chopra to fire Dave Jones’ side into an early lead. Ramsey added a second when he calmly guided home Kevin McNaughton’s cross in the 52nd minute.

  47. I can’t fucking stand oatcakes.

  48. When Ramsey and Diaby are back in the squad, there will be some established players not even making the match squad. Central midfield is chocka.

  49. Get yourself to one of these rallies, ronnie. http://uaf.org.uk/2011/01/stoke-antifascists-plan-campign-against-bnp-in-crucial-elections/ Do your bit. The civilised world fucking hates you.

  50. Reading Stokie bloggers on ACLF is not unlike finding an excerpt from HEAT in an edition of Granta; only worse, and funnier, perhaps more like hungrily biting into a decent pie (say pepper steak, crusty) and finding a two-inch Ryan Shawcross inside, trying to kick his way out. Ohmygod.

    with apologies …

  51. I’ve never been to Stoke, but I am curious about Stoke is pronounced in Stoke. Is it more like ‘Stork’ or more like ‘Stook’.

  52. It’s great that we can refresh the squad with someone like Ramsey.

    And as for this Toral story – it appears to be real, but, seeing as all the news has come from the Catalan media, could it just be an effort to galvanise the club in the wake of a few mutterings about Barcelona’s squad depth, goalkeeper and lack of rotation? Maybe it’s just good timing for them.

  53. Aw, c’mon Steww can’t we toy with them a little.

  54. @Block4 ~ Oh give it a rest, man! (and some names are satire/irony btw)
    Things are heating up nicely with the trolls. Would be nice for atleast one of them to come along and say something original, intelligent and, yes it’s asking alot, even amusing. Am glad Robin’s not playing, as he’s just too good for the cro-magnons; watch them target Jack though.

  55. I reckon we might see Bendy and Chamakh tonight to add a bit of height into the team to combat the excellent throw ins and long balls that the wonderful talented Stoke players will be utilising.

    I wish we had someone who could throw the ball all the way into the area, it is a joy to behold. I loved all three goals that Stoke scored the other night all three came from amazingly timed headers from corners or throw-ins. We should get off their backs they are a wonderfully gifted team of committed players who deserve credit for playing to their strengths.

    They also deserve a great deal of credit for not tripping on their own knuckles when they run.

  56. Zimpaul – stork ! (Not that i’ve been there, good Lord, no)

  57. Lets run a comp to see who can guess the closest minute to the first “Same old Arsenal….. ” Chant from these mugs, and they accuse us of not having any original songs!

    I reckon 7 minutes

  58. Bendtner and Chamakh have not had one game where they have played well together. It should be one or the other.

  59. Last time Stoke came to town, Arshavin was the lone ranger up front – a 5 ft 7 pint sizer against monstrous neanderthals and he run rings around them.

    Even with Cesc missing a penalty – and mind you, Sorrenson got off his line as he had done many times before the ball was even kicked – Arsenal still won comfortably with 2 goals without reply.

    The secret of that game was simple – don’t let them have the ball.

    And for additional entertainment, James Beatty and Tony Pulis ended up chasing each other butt naked around the showers.

    Van Persie needs to take time out to get fit for the Barca return game and the home stretch. It’s ill-advised to rush him back. Chamakh and Bendtner need to stand up and be counted for the next 4 games against Stoke, Birmingham, Orient and Sunderland.

  60. @ponyboy, am I not allowed the right of reply? That’s all I’ve done. Or is that just for all those that don’t agree with me? It’s alright for poodle to call me a “bitch” and I’m just meant to take it? I was willing to leave it yesterday, it’s not me who won’t give it a rest.

  61. I have thought up a new song for AA23 but it might be a bit difficult to explain.

    In close encounters of the third kind there is a bit in India where all of the locals are singing. It sounds wicked and kinda sounds like they are singing Andrey Arsharvin. I reckon it would sound amazing echoing around the Emirates.

    Thoughts?

  62. This from some semi literate Stoke blog
    “Non-stop booing of every moment of Arsenal possession, chants of ‘kill, kill, kill’ whenever Cesc Fabregas touches the ball and, of course, the ‘F**k off and die, f**k off and die, Arsene Wenger, f**k off and die’ song are all absolute musts. Hopefully we won’t disgrace ourselves and will come away with a famous result, teaching them a few lessons in the spirit that the game is supposed to be played in while we’re at it. ”
    Classy.

  63. I don’t know pb, we hear very little from you for months and then you come on here spoiling for a fight.

    What’s up, sangria run out?

  64. “Non-stop booing of every moment of Arsenal possession”

    They are going to be some sore throats in Stoke tomorrow.

  65. “…the spirit that the game is supposed to be played in…”

    HAHAHAHAHA!

  66. I meant “there are” obvisouly 🙂

  67. Been waiting for Pubis for a long time, Consols… Vile man. His puppets are ghastly, but Pubis is a cheap, nasty lying piece of filth.

    I hate the way he makes me so ANGRY!!! Been off the sauce lately, but tonight… big bottles!

  68. I thought Manchester had to play Chelsea not Wigan as it was the match they were supposed to play during the snow havoc.

    As for the line-up for tonight, I’ll go with Yogi’s one because I also think Wenger will try to help Marouane regain confidence although I wouldn’t mind seeing Nicklas playing.

    Re the Wenger enemigo del Barca, I don’t know if you guys read it but they are surely bitter, stating stupid quotes taken out of context to try and put discredit on Wenger! Well a bit like the tabloids over here do on a daily basis except there they have put all the stereotypes in one text. (I can’t call it an article as it makes no sense whatsoever as a media story as it just look like something written by Ronnie the inbred from that shithole.)

  69. “Irish and an Arsenal ‘fan’, how does that work then?”

    At one point (early 1900s?) over a third of the families in Highbury & Islington were Irish. Irish helped builed Highbury, and they helped build the Arsenal Stadium too. There is almost as big an Irish connection with Arsenal as there is with Liverpool or Celtic.

    So that’s a pretty – “He’s got Yellow BOOTs On!” – kind of a statement.

    Stoke Newington’s alright… shit name though.

  70. At least we’ll have tech9 back… Pheeeeeww

  71. He and Stoke are made for each other pb.

    Primitive, ugly and nasty.

  72. Sissy Fibreglass, Oh aye I remember he scored a penalty with a broken leg.

    Fibreglass being a seriously strong material, I can only assume your nickname for El Capitan is a compliment. Or you are a moron.

  73. Good to see the Spuds get turned over last night!

  74. Gunnerluc

    United play Wigan on Saturday and Chelsea next week.

    YW

  75. Men,

    These words won’t be rambunctiously rousing, but reflective. The enemy we face tonight, last year they tried to put us down, but instead we took it as an opportunity to shine, and shine we did, but only after they hurt one of our own.

    Those of the Jewish ethnicity put it best when two words were uttered: “Never forget.” Although the circumstances and meaning behind those words carry much in the way of hurt and strength for the Jewish community, it is nevertheless these very words we should carry with us onto the field of battle tonight.

    Never forget.

    But it is also said the measure of a society can be found in how it treats it’s enemies, and what are we if not great men? Barbarians I hear you cry, and you are indeed correct, but we are more. We are barbarians with the manners of gentlemen.

    When the battle is over, though not immediate, we forgive our enemies for their transgressions, but we never forget. The pain. The injustice. The suffering. We carry these memories, they echo the beating of our heart. When we look at our fallen, we see our brothers and the spectre of all things wrong. We can forgive, but we can never forget.

    Never forget.

    So when we take the pitch tonight, know that our anger is tempered; focused like the mightiest Master Sword. It blazes within our hearts and augments our movement. There is none in the land, perhaps even the world who can beat us but ourselves. Our pace, our power, our precision, though unrivalled, it won’t be these things which grant us victory this night, it will simply be us.

    For Diaby. For Eduardo. For Ramsey.

    It’s time to win it all men, take another step to greatness.

    Victoria Concordia Cresit. Never forget.

    For Arsenal!!

  76. Yogi
    Yeah I went to check their fixture list and saw that but I thought you were talking about their game in hand as we are playing our game in hand.
    Just read the post too quickly.

  77. Master Sword FTW!!!

    Pity about Koscielny as the dude is immense in the air and we’ll miss it against this team tonight

  78. but block4 i have to admit that no matter how annoying and irritating i find you, Stoke is 10000 times more annoying and irritating. If you just used all the energy you use to bash Almunia to bash and taunt Stoke instead(maybe if you go to the Emirates tonite?) then im sure that would be alot more constructive use of your energy(it even make them loose if they find you as irritating as i do).
    Do you not want to join forces with the rest of us and ridicule Stoke instead of ridiculing big Al? or do you actually find discussing big Als shortcoming with a bunch of guys that think big as deserves atlest some respect more exciting than to support your team against Stoke and telling ron and what ever his name was that stoke fans are about as sofisticated as their team.
    I know what i find most excing, and it does not involve a pointless discussion that we know we will never agree on anyway.

  79. and i hope the crowd today keeps the ref on his toes. and makes Stoke feel so unwelcome they just want to walk off the field again after 2 mins.

  80. charmark for a hattrick.. best confidence boost! add one for arshavin and nasri and that would be nice… a few more for cesc, theo and nikki b would be great too… that should sort out the goal difference side of things.

  81. Thinking of that day makes me angry still, and sad… but also proud; of the players, and the fans, and the club. “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre. C’est de la folie”

  82. ponyboy: “watch them target Jack though.”

    Won’t happen. Jack is English.

  83. thats some hilariously pompous stuff gadget. take out the player names and arsenal and it reads like a speech from war time.

  84. @poodle, I ignore the opposition trolls on internet forums. I am only interested in discussing my team, both good and bad, not some of the rubbish that has been posted by these people above. You can rest assured that everyone connected with the opposition who is at the ground tonight will be getting both barrels from me, that’s when I will turn my ire on the so-called footballers of Stoke City. There is no “if” about going to the games, everything is scheduled around the Arsenal fixture list.

    I also take umbrage at your description of me “bashing” Almunia, I don’t think I did anything of the kind. I initially made a comment that he made a mistake, I also later agreed that the two defenders (Gibbs and Miquel) made a mistake, but it was taken as I’m having a go at the keeper for the sake of it. I was doing nothing of the kind.

  85. Seems a bit stupid by the FA to appoint Walton as ref after he was in charge at their shithole when the thug did his appointed duty.

  86. dups – Why? He sent him off, what more do you want him to do? Set him on fire as he leaves the pitch?

    *may not be a bad idea*

  87. Block4 – Get used to it mate. You will always get jumped on by certain sections on here if your opinion does not match theirs (the party line). Not all mind, just certain posters.

  88. @goonerandy, I am well aware. Cheers.

  89. goonerandy – it was a direct result of his weak ‘let it go’ refereeing that AR got attacked. No good sending him off after the event. Make it clear that the rules will be enforced from the kick off and the scumbag Shawcroft doesn’t attack Aaron in the first place.

  90. “dups – Why? He sent him off, what more do you want him to do? Set him on fire as he leaves the pitch?”

    Well, now that you mention it……………………………

  91. steww – You may be right mate. I can’t remember how he reffed the game until then.

  92. According to this morning’s Sun, Pepe Guardiola’s brother represents the young lad at the middle of the latest brouhaha with Barcelona…

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/3427522/The-man-who-helped-Arsenal-snatch-a-16-year-old-wonderkid-from-Barcelona-is-boss-Pep-Guardiolas-BROTHER.html

  93. Excellent point Steww.

    It’s the effect of these refs “letting things go”, keeping the game flowing”, and “being sensible” is the root of the problem.

    Every time we see new rules implemented to cut down on things, like red cards for tackles from behind, swearing at the ref, etc etc, the media are all for it until the first game one of their favourites gets sent off, then they climb in, boots and all, demanding that the ref “show some common sense”.

    What really needs to happen is that the referees get run by some competent people who tell the media et al to go and fuck themselves.

    Won’t take long for serial offenders to start behaving themselves.

  94. Just a point about tactics? Stewart Robson pointed out that Rosicky did not plat far enough up the pitch on Sunday and that served to make Chamakh appear isolated and ineffectual. Fabregas or Nasri played in that position cannot be accused of not supporting their centre forward and I expect Chamakh to get a lot more help tonight.
    I would actually start with Bendtner on the right to help deal with set pieces and bring Theo on late if it’s felt necessary.

    I don’t think RVP (temperament) or Kos (height) were ever going to play in this match.

  95. That passage of play should’ve been stopped about three fouls earlier. Walton was like a rabbit in the headlights. Completely choked in front of the baying dogs behind him. If he’d been doing his job it wouldn’t have escalated into the complete clusterf*ck which allowed Shawcr*ss to steam in like a freight train and cut a year off a great player’s career. You can see it happen in about 20 seconds…. aggression becomes recklessness, recklessness goes unchecked, recklessness becomes full-on bloodlust.. bam. He had about three opportunities to stop the game, intervene and prevent the glaringly inevitable injury but he fucked it up.

  96. I really don’t like Bendtner and Chamakh playing together, every game I have seen them together so far they have had little impact. If we do go with that, I would prefer to see Nasri left, as AA/Bendtner/Chamakh really has not worked in the games so far.

  97. Thanks for the link to the Snu YW. Now I need to wash.

  98. What steww said…

  99. …about refereeing.

  100. RVP (temperament) or Kos (height).

    VanPersie’s temperament? Explain. Koscielny is one of our best in the air.

  101. Dogface’s analysise of Walton’s performance as a referree to date. Interesting reading.

    I shall be watching him.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/11070/comment-page-1#comment-73113

  102. Great post Yogi. Looking forward to another win. Also hope that Manutd lose to L’OM. Would make my day after that disappointing draw. COYG!

  103. The BBC has some audio of Deputy Dawg Redknapp after the 3-1 defeat to Blackpool. Priceless.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/9398472.stm

  104. Walton is in a difficult position.

    Arsenal players will be encouraging him to let the game flow, and as others have said this directly led to serious injury against Stoke in the past. Since the Stoke tactics will rely on breaking up the flow of the game the ref will need to be very careful to get the balance right. A stop start game is not what we want, but waving play on too often just encourages the neanderthal bastards to push it a bit too far.

  105. The balance. For me this means let the game flow where we have a clear advantage then go back and book the Stoke player. Stop the game immediately for any attempt at a violent foul.
    Two footed of the ground studs up challenges immediate red card and step in to ensure no retaliation.

  106. Oh yes,

    I nearly forgot, the Ode to Joy:

    Blackpoool 3 – Spuds 1.

    Happy days

  107. I agree with steww. I am 100% fine with refs letting the game run and flow, but too often I feel that referees have the interpretation that if you let the players play on and they use the advantage successfully that suddenly the foul that lead to the advantage situation simply did not happen. I would really like if refs would start giving more retrospective bookings in situations like that.

  108. Funny, Steww, if those are the “original” songs they plan to sing, they don’t realize that they have already disgraced themselves.

    I must say the Stoke fans are the worst trolls of all our opponents. Their worst, deserved punishment, however, is that they have to watch that team and its manager every week. Worse than purgatory, that would be hell.

  109. Markus, Steww has made the point.

    By all means let the game flow if niggling fouls are committed and there’s an advantage to be played, but issue yellow cards early on when rotational fouling is obvious.

    Stop the game and get strict at any sign of violence.

    The problem is that referees do far too much “stern talking” to violent and serial foulers and not enough handing out of cards to dampen their “enthusiasm”.

  110. If they target Jack, they are even stupider than they look. Yes, unbelievable as that might seem! First Jack has seen this before and proved a tough character. Secondly, now that he is England’s great hope, he might start getting the protection that routinely comes with that status. We’ll see if it extends to Arsenal England players.

  111. Walton is evil.

  112. The sp*d troll is not bitter today. Nope. Not at all.

  113. Whoops,

    I meant Walton is evil, not Walton is Evil.

  114. ‘Fibreglass being a seriously strong material, I can only assume your nickname for El Capitan is a compliment. Or you are a moron.’

    Maybe I am a little bit of a moron – being Spanish – but I also know that Arse-nil won’t be playing Stoke’s first team tonight. We have more important games coming up – you pick the team for the occasion and don’t expect anything tonight (especially with this ref). You will, however, come unstuck at the Britannia in May … in all seriousness, that is one to avoid for all Arsenal supporters after what your manager, players and fans have constantly said about Stoke over the past 2 years.
    Rory Delap broke his leg in 2 places in his first game for Stoke – it was an accident (like Ramsey’s). Did we blame or moan – no – we got on with it …. Rory is a true gent and a footballer … unlike some of today’s ballet players. I look forward to seeing more English/British players playing for Arsenal and love the morals preached by your manager – I hope his girlfriend and their baby are doing well.

  115. Of course you didn’t complain Fibreglass being the great advocators of the do unto others philosophy you are. How could you complain about Delap breaking his legs when you want to break you opponents’ legs too. Congratulate them for getting in first eh?

  116. yawn…

  117. WE WILL NEVER FORGET ! Fibreglass…..fuck u and ur kind to hell …

  118. Fuck me, are these dopey twats still here.

    I wouldn’t mind but the stupid sods apparently think that I’m a “Yank”, on the basis that a sentence was constructed with the correct grammar.

  119. WE WILL NEVER FORGET ! Fibreglass…..fuck u and ur kind to hell …

    …. language young man !!

  120. What does Delap need his legs for?
    He just needs Two Towels close at hand.
    On a drizzly damp day, he may even crank it up to Threer Towels!

    Exciting.

  121. Good bye – I thought Arsenal had some decent supporters …. obviously they don’t use this site …..

  122. He won’t have any towels today though because it is a racing certainty that Arsenal won’t give him any.

    YW

  123. Well of course YW often times the colonials will retain and maintain the strict grammatical standards that those in the motherland subsequently corrupt or evolve. Many people see ‘Americanisms’ such as gotten as poor English when in fact it is good, if somewhat archaic English.
    A little like coming from a sad benighted place like Stoke. The rest of the world evolves, moves on, changes (sometimes for the better) but the neglected Stokelidyte remains in his tribal enclave where only locals support the local team and that team adheres rigidly to ancient, discredited and outmoded styles of play.

  124. Fibreglass, you are Spanish and support Stoke?? I think that just about says everything we need to know. The fact that you come from a culture that teaches everything about pass and move and slick football and yet you choose to support the very antithesis of this screams volumes about your lack of any kind of understanding about football.

    For the good of football everywhere I hope your shitty team gets relegated back to the 70’s.

  125. Fibreglass’ claim to be Spanish is rather, shall we say, dubious.

  126. “Fibreglass | February 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    Good bye – I thought Arsenal had some decent supporters …. obviously they don’t use this site …..”

    You fucking dirty piece of shit. Low life, scum bag. You come on to an Arsenal blog using that name, insulting our manager, spouting a load bollocks about our team, and then as a passing shot you figure that we should have something to be ashamed for, because we put you in your place!! All the decent Arsenal supporters were the ones who didn’t waste any time in telling a prick like you how you could go fuck yourself! Now piss off back to where ever you crawled out of. Dick.

  127. Hey Steww, thought you said we had to stay on the pavement and out of the gutter??

  128. Delia---Block 112

    I can’t say I enjoyed the posts today, too many interlopers! I am of the Wengerball / beautiful game fraternity and fear tonight’s encounter may well feature neither but I am still going to make my self heard and support the cause. Pity about the absentees but trust AW is looking to our needs on Sunday.
    Even if it’s a grin and bear it kind of match , the three points is all that matters.
    As always COYRs

  129. As a Finn, I don’t know where Stoke is (except in the UK, of course), but after reading this thread I at least have it on my mental map. Now I’m curious what they look like.

    On yogi’s post: I thought the game ManU had in hand was Chelsea away? These two games were delayed around Christmas – and that’s why I’ve felt a little optimistic when they balance out.

    Of course after that other reschedules have occured.

  130. Hmmm…I thought that would embed.

    I should not that the FA has made this video almost impossible to find.

    http://www.pixter.hu/video?id=18543

  131. Agree with YW’s line up although I would rather see NB52 up front. I realize that Chamakh probably needs the game time to regain his form but we have only 13 games left and we are down 4 points. We need to play our best available players and I think NB52 offers better form and more confidence. I think we will get a realitively easy either 2 – 0 or 3 – 0 win. The team has been excellent against set pieces with JD and chezzer in the back and I do not see us conceding any goals in open play.

    I dislike the way Stoke play but I do not blame them for the long balls and the long throws. They would get played off the park if they tried anything else. Any one of us would do the same if we were in Pulis’ shoes. Their use of thuggery is a completely different matter. I agree 100% with Steww @12:57. The ref needs to take control of the game early. Once the bad tackles start they get harder to stop. The FA needs to start retrospective punishment and video replays to help the refs. Stronger punishment for the bad tackles.

    Great to hear about Ramsey and I think he will be a great player for us. We have such a wealth of central midfielders I am not sure how often he will play meaninful minutes. If Diaby gets healthy then Ramsey will have to compete with Denilson to make the subs bench. I really hope we are able to play our best 11 in the CC final. Birmingham have been in good form recently and this is their only chance for any glory. That one will not be a cake walk.

  132. Finnish

    Both sides have played the same number of games before tonight so their game in hand will be at Wigan on Saturday.

    YW

  133. Bill

    Of course the manner of play is Stoke’s fault. It is the Board who put up with Pulis’ tactics. Instead of looking at the state of the game and moving with the times, they remain mired in the past, incapable of making any steps forward as a club. Such an attitude will only get them relegated in the near future.

    YW

  134. @yogi: “Both sides have played the same number of games before tonight so their game in hand will be at Wigan on Saturday.”

    Not that this is important, but ManU–Wigan next Saturday should be the normal weekend fixture? And, due to the unfortunate case of a League Cup Final on Sunday, our due match this weekend against Tottenham has been re-scheduled to a future date.

  135. Finnish

    A game in hand only arises when one team has played more than the other. At the moment, irrespective of the way in which fixtures have fallen, neither side has a game in hand. Best to keep things simple because I’d forgotten until late yesterday that this was a re-arranged fixture from December! How on earth would a simpleton such as I keep track of things otherwise?

    YW

  136. Bill, the Premier League is no place for teams who don’t play football. You end up with matches like Birmignham vs Stoke a few weeks ago. Fuck-awful shite that nobody wants to watch and certainly won’t do the reputation of the league any favours. They almost didn’t want to show it on MOTD that week it was so woeful.

  137. “no place for teams who don’t play football. ”

    That sort of comment confuses me a bit (I am not having a go). Teams play to their stengths for survival. Are you saying that every team should go out and try and play the type of football we do?

    I don’t like to watch that type of football, especially when it goes too far and ends up with twats like Shawcross charging around the pitch. Until they got rid of Alladyce Bolton used the same type of tactics to great sucess (qualified for Europe). Are you saying they didn’t deserve their place in the lge?

    It is snobbish and arrogant to pillor teams who can’t play the same style we do because their players are not good enough. I am not “sticking up” for teams who play thay type of football, as I think it is as dull as you like, but I can certainly see why some teams play the long ball game.

  138. My apologies to the regular posters of ACLF, for my language but since the Ramsey incident, anything Stoke related seems to bring out the worst in me. My bad. In the future I will try to refrain.

    (But in my defence from the fans, the manager, the board, all the way through to the players, they really are vile.)

  139. YW
    We neurotics do it the other way, we look back and forth in rapid motion to stay in control. 🙂

  140. Finnish Hit
    Link to a picture of Ronnie and his girlfriend attending the Emirates tonight

  141. Rory Delap is without doubt the greatest living exponent of the “dry and throw-in”, and while Stoke are not the worst exponents of playing football without resort to thuggery in the land (it’s a close thing mind), their fans make our village idiots look like latter day renaissance intellects of the highest brow and gentlest demeanour. The state of the merry england.

    Good luck tonight lads!

  142. We should have towels around the pitch which are smeared with grease for him to use.

  143. GoonerAndy, many teams without means play real football in both the EPL and championship, and lower leagues, where some excellent football is won and lost. Don’t defend thuggish football.

  144. YW:

    Given the talent of the players Stoke have on their squad, IMO they would have been relegated 2 years ago if they had tried to play with any other style. Hopefully squads of dinosaurs will get disappear from the league as times move forward. I can not watch a game they play other then against us but as long as the rules of the game allow that style of play it will be with us. Eventually they will get relegated, hopefully sooner rather then later. However, I do not blame Pulis for using those tactics since it is the only thing he can realistically do. Can you imagine what the scores would be if they actually tried to play football against decent sides. He would have been sacked long ago.

  145. Zim – I am not defending “thuggish football”. I am saying that teams who play the long ball game because their players are not good enough to play technical football, are simply playing to their strengths.

    In general if a team tries to beat us by playing football, they will lose. So why should they try to do it? I am not advocating them going around breaking legs by the way.

  146. @goonerandy, yes that is exactly what I am saying, and no Bolton under Aldardyce did not deserve their place in Europe. Especially when teams who played better football missed out. Ask any Bolton fan whether they want to go back to Aldardyce style play and you’ll see what fans value from a team.

    Am I fucking mad here to expect a FOOTBALL team to actually PLAY FOOTBALL?

  147. Blackpool play football and surely they have a lower budget than Stoke and they still managed to beat the spud 3-1!
    Bolton has not change their whole squad but now play better football under Owen Coyle and probably will do better in Europe with that kind of football.
    Stoke resort to thugish tactics and route one football because that is the football the board, the manager, the fans wants not because they play to their strengh.

  148. Markus – You are saying that the only way to play football is of the Wengerball ilk. And you are wrong. As much as I hate Bolton (especially when under that fat twat), they did deserve their place in Europe. The lge table does not lie at the end of the season.

    There are many different ways for a team to operate, and ulitmatelt it is the results which dictate if it is a sucessful brand of football or not. We are very lucky, in that our football is great to watch and still succseful.

  149. gunnerluc – “Stoke resort to thugish tactics and route one football because that is the football the board, the manager, the fans wants not because they play to their strengh.”

    So you don’t think they are playing to their strengths? Riiiiiiight. OK then.

    I wonder if our team under GG deserved some of the silverware we won? We were as dull as dishwater to watch at times.

  150. How many of you have ever been to England let alone an actual Arsenal game? you call yourselves supporters? What a joke you lot are, even the proper Arsenal supporters hate your type of gloryhunters.

  151. MD

    Will the stewards let them in with their banjos or do they have to leave them outside?

    YW

  152. andy, no not Wengerball, just football would do.

  153. Who is this strange Ronnie chap?

  154. goonerandy

    No, we were worse than that at times and I think that is why we are so vitriolic in our abuse of teams that adopt that style.

    YW

  155. Markus – It is football; just not a very attractive brand of it.

  156. When your prime form of attack consists of throwing the ball with your hand and then hoping that you will somehow be able to hit it with your head and score a goal, for me, that’s not exactly what I understand under the term “football”.

  157. YW – I agree. I am not advocating that type of play; simply acknowledging why some teams play that style of football.

    Whilst you can go into Tesco’s and buy “taste the difference” sausages, there are plenty of people who will buy the Tesco’s own brand. The quality is not as good, but they still have their place.

  158. Goonerandy your mistaken. Teams like stoke don’t play the way they do because their players aren’t good enough, it’s because their managers implement a certain style of football. Just to highlight my point look at the example of Tuncay. He was easily their most creative player, capable of moments of magic for them. Yet he only managed to get a couple of sub appearances for them and then got sold in the January transfer window. And who did they replace him with? Exactly.

    Stoke aren’t a financially restricted side Goonerandy. Take a look at the amount of money they have spent over the past couple of years on player acquisition. Yet look at the style and calibre of footballers that they have brought together. It isn’t about capability, it’s about will. And there is no excuse for that. They make an overt choice to be the team that they are.

  159. Again look at Bolton, they have kept almost the same squad than under Allardyce but there style of play has changed a lot and for the better. What has changed? Fans got bored of their style and voiced it so the board, hired a manager who makes his team play attractive football even with a limited budget ie Burnley. Now they are still in the top end of the table but do not use route one football with the same players. Do you think they woke up one day and magically got the ability to play football? If you are a professional footballer you have a minimum of technique especially if you play in one of the best league in the world.
    Do you think Shawcross has only learnt how to break a leg or kick someone out of the pitch while in the youth set-up of Manchester United?

  160. Evil – And neither is completing 30+ passes only to see the opposition win the ball hoof it over the top and score within 2 touches, but that is the reality of it.

  161. In some respects, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but I’d like to think that if the right manager came in, the current Stoke team would be capable of at least trying to play decent football. It all comes down from the top. Surely they can’t enjoy playing that long ball game? What is achieved from it? A few goals here and there, but they’re not a thing of beauty are they? How must a central defender feel about being told to hoof it up field every time they receive the ball?

    Maybe I’m just being a bit too kind to the players.

  162. @GA
    Yeah, but it’s still a sausage in the end. Your analogy would be more fitting, if you had said tofu sausages. They look similar and you can pretend that they taste similar, but in the end, it’s just not the real thing.

  163. Serk – Yup, I do agree with you. But on the other hand, it works for them. So why would they take the risk in changing it? It is rubbish football, but it is effective football.

  164. Evil – Ha, I like that. As much as it sickens me to say though, Tofu sausages still have their place in the supermarket. Even if most people (rightly) don’t like them.

  165. ronnie: look at 2:47 and 3:27. And yes I have.

  166. I’m almost sick to my stomach to play these leg breakers just before our most important part of the season.

  167. The arrogance of some of these posts is breathtaking.Yes, Stoke play ugly football and yes, I believe that the way the manager whips them up contributes to “accidents” like the Shawcross maiming of Ramsey, but they are entitled to play a long ball/long throw game if they so wish. As ol’ Big Head said, “if they were playing at the bottom of my garden I’d draw trhe curtains”

    Saying Bolton didn’t deserve their place in Europe is a comment that is beyond belief. The fact is that all those teams who were playing “proper” football who finished behind Bolton that year weren’t very good at it, at least not as good as Bolton were at their style.

    We loved it when we were playing that style under GG, in fact we revelled in it. A huge punt to Wrighty who bangs it in? Great, we’re off to Wembley/Copenhagen/Paris! Where’s that open top bus parade?

    Do the Greeks give a flying fuck that they played ugly football to win the European Championship? Of course they don’t, they’re just happy that they did, in fact, they’d probably have been happy just to be competitive and not get spanked all the way back to Athens.

  168. Goonerandy – I’d love to find common ground with youtr attempts to be understanding and even handed. These are good qualities, but in defending the kind of hateful anti football which is the antithesis of everything for which our great manager and therefore our great club stands is unforgivable.
    There is no excuse for playing the way they do. As others have pointed out to you Bolton changed overnight with the same players. Blackpool play properly as do Brighton, and West Brom did.
    We kept the same defence and yet changed overnight when Arsene arrived. We are absolutely 100% right to want and even demand that everyone play attractively and by the rules.

  169. gunnerluc – Are Bolton anywhere near qualifying for Europe now? Do you see them being any time in the future? Thought not.

    Look, I am not advocating teams playing hoofball. I am just saying that I understand why teams might adopt that approach. If they can become good at it, it can be a effective form of playing. Especially against teams which they have no chance at beating with a passing game.

    It is ugly, but it can work. When we won things under GG we were a million miles away from being a passing side. But we played to our strengths, perfected our gameplan, and gained sucess. For teams like Stoke being in the PL is about not getting relegated, and their style of football works for them and maximises their potential of meeting their aims.

  170. Gunnerluc already made the most important point. Bolton, same team as last year, better football, better results, happier fans and players, and a real chance of European football.

    You think someone who loves football loves playing for Stoke? Must be an absolte bore for them.

  171. Wouldn’t it be sad if Delap broke his hands?

  172. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
    Do you really follow the same club as I do block4? Have you not had your eyes opened by the joy of watching Arsene’s beautiful project growing and maturing before our eyes? Do you really want a trophy at any cost?
    And what in the name of fuck is wrong with being arrogant in our belief and support? If you cannot be arrogant when talking about Stoker fucking City then you just as well give up.

  173. Steww – “Goonerandy – I’d love to find common ground with youtr attempts to be understanding and even handed. These are good qualities, but in defending the kind of hateful anti football which is the antithesis of everything for which our great manager and therefore our great club stands is unforgivable.
    There is no excuse for playing the way they do. As others have pointed out to you Bolton changed overnight with the same players. Blackpool play properly as do Brighton, and West Brom did.
    We kept the same defence and yet changed overnight when Arsene arrived. We are absolutely 100% right to want and even demand that everyone play attractively and by the rules.”

    I am not defending. Read my posts.

    Would that be the W Brom that get relegated every other season? What you are effectivly saying is that everybody should attempt to play like us. Staggering really. Most of the lesser teams that play nice football in the lge are hovering close to the relegation zone if you had not noticed. Still, better to get relegated than change your style of play eh?

    We did change very quickly once Arsene arrived. He also changed much of the team very quickly as well.

  174. Block4, they have every right to play how they need to win (within the rules).

    But it doesn’t change the fact Im not exactly thrilled to play this team and their style at this point in our season. I don’t think it is insulting to feel that way. The last few seasons point to the fact we get injuries versus teams that play this way.

  175. I just wonder about the lack of ambition. Negative football is hardly ever “really” successful. While some might argue that Inter were “negative”, I think it is more appropriate to say, despite my hate for the “special” one, that they played attractive counter attacking football paired with a solid as a brick wall defence.
    But to find a truly negative team that has won anything of significance, you have to go back almost 10 years to the winners of Euro 2004: Greece. Now that was god awful and I do not think that when people state that they are probably the worst EC winners ever that there is even one bit of overstatement in it. They might have won the European Championship but what is their legacy? Even 20 or 30 years from now, when people think back to that tournament and Greece, the first thing that will spring to people’s minds is “They played awful negative football”.
    While negative football to the max might bring you temporary results, but in the end, no one remembers the ones who try to exploit and abuse the game fondly, if they are even remembered.

  176. Steww – “And what in the name of fuck is wrong with being arrogant in our belief and support? ”

    Nobody has even menbtioned our support. You sound arrogant as you are claiming that evry club should try and play like us. Our style of play is one of countless styles (in my opinion the best as well), but a club is entitlment to play how it feels it will best achieve result. If you can’t see that, then you must actually be from Stoke.

  177. andy: “What you are effectivly saying is that everybody should attempt to play like us.”

    No one is saying that so stop continually stating that as if it were fact. Fuckin worse than the media you are.

  178. So at what stage has it been agreed that Stoke’s form of football is “successful” or “effective”? I would suggest that, aside from Bolton’s single season in Europe, that it has not been either successful or effective.

  179. Evil – I agree 100% with your post. I suppose Liverpool and Chelsea have won things recently with a fairly negative gameplan, but your post is still correct I think.

    The teams we are talking about though are not trying to win the lge. They are trying to surive. So you are right, that they are unlikely to win things. But I don’t think that is their aim at the start of each season.

  180. Anyway, for me as a fan, while we might have had a time when we played differently than we do now(and tbh I feel that comparison is strongly lacking because back than you would hardly find any flamboyant attacking sides in the First Division. I think the lack of English competitiveness in the European Cup in the first several years post-Haysel though shows clearly how “good” the typical style employed in those times was when faced with attacking football), to see us go back to those ways would break my heart as an Arsenal fan. The way we play football is a thing of art and for no trophies in the world would I want to exchange it for anything else.

  181. Markus – From Steww at 4:04

    “We are absolutely 100% right to want and even demand that everyone play attractively “

  182. Anyway, I am off.

    See you all tomorrow to discuss our 3-1 victory over the shitkickers.

    🙂

  183. I would love it if we gave Stoke a really humiliating lesson in football with a flashy scoreline. I’d love some vengeance. But, frankly, it would probably be lost on that club and just reinforce their hatred, defiant paranoia, and culturally based sense of victimhood. All I want is 3 points and no injuries. We have bigger fish to fry–a cup final, Barcelona second leg, a cup replay to set up a confrontation with ManUre. All we need are the points–we don’t need them to know how wretched they are. I felt more passionate about this fixture in December, but things have moved on since then and the future beckons. 4 competitions and great glory for Arsenal to pursue. Stoke feels like a vendetta that distracts from real progress. Even this debate about their style seems obsolete–they are holdouts while other clubs are passing them by and will survive in the league too. Let’s put them to the sword and move on quickly! COYG!!

  184. Block4 – Loving this debate. But can I just add that in as much as Stoke are entitled and indeed should play to their strengths, where is the progression? Delap’s long throw is a very dangerous weapon, there is no denying that but what else do they offer? Crowding the goalkeeper seems to be accepted in England but what would happen if they where to try that in Europe? It would be a foul each and every time, eventually leading to yellow cards being brandished for repeat offending. Yes WBA seem to be unable to retain their EPL status but yet they keep bouncing back up. This to me shows that they do have the skill but that it is probably more down to tactics that let them down. But I think we all agree that where ever we where born, be it Ireland, USA, Kenya, London, Finland or Canada, that we all dodged a bullet by not being born in Stoke!!

    COYG 🙂

  185. @steww, I don’t think anyone who has commented on this thinks that the way we play football is ininitely better than the way Stoke do. 100% right to “want” them to play attractively, yes. But “demand”, no.

  186. Well we have to agree to differ on that then b4.

  187. Goonerandy if they have the right to CHOOSE the style of football that they want to play then surely we have the right to judge them on that decision.

    It’s your choices that make you the man you are, and ultimately it is the only thing that people can judge you by. I’m not sure what your trying to defend?

  188. there is another angle to this shawcross episode that actually magnified this incidence and delibrately painted arsenal as moaners. The SAF angle! When d incident occured reports have it that the everybody in d stadium players, officials and spectators were dumbstruct. Everybody including stokes players knew d tackle was reckless and uncalled for. He left the stadium in tears. He knew he had done something in a very wrong way. The media did know what to make of the situation: A BRIT VS ARSENAL! Then SAF called shawcross to show his solidarity and everything changed. The media, pundits, commentators etc. went after arsenal calling them all manner of names from moaners to whingers to soft-touch. SAF interference made arsenal the villain in dis episode. He is worse than stoke and shawcross put together’!

  189. Tony Pulis would not play the beautiful game if he had our squad plus a young Pele. Look at his history, he has always chosen to play in the style that we see Stoke employing now.

    I find it hard to credit that some on here are actually parroting the SKY/BBC line that teams have to play to their strengths to win. Well of course they do!

    The issue is whether managers and clubs set out to play football of the sort associated with Fat Sam and Pulis or try and play football like Holloway and Poyet. It’s not just about money, how much is Shawcross worth? It’s choice. They make that choice because it is the easy one. Run around a lot. Hoof it. Play the percentages. They are limited as managers and therefore their football is limited.

  190. C’bob – well said 🙂

  191. Are people really bemoaning the hoof and run style of football, or is it something else which rightly or wrongly seems inextricably linked?

    The hoof and run as I see it is tangled with taint, be it the over-zealous physicality (read: thuggery) of Stoke and Birmingham or the ambitionless team defending of Man City.

    However, this isn’t always so. Just a few days ago Orient predominately played hoof-ball, but they did so in a way which was earnest and ambitious; Ipswich before them and Leeds. Do we make allowances for them because they are non EPL teams? Has familiarity bred such contempt?

    Pulis is a hated figure for me. Synonymous with c#nt is his name. And it is true that most of the EPL has moved away from hoof and run, but it does have limited success, and well, when a team expects lose but hopes for more, they’ll do what they need to. However, I can accept such tactics against teams like us, but to employ them constantly, against teams who are struggling, I think one must ask questions, certainly if I were a player, I’d want to know why hoof-ball becomes prevalent over any other style.

    Hoof ball is a game of playing to the stats more than anything. Mechanical, rigid, soulless. It has a right to exist, but that is all. It’s survival football, and survival is never pretty and only sadistically entaining

  192. Chile played with some gr*tty gr*t in the WC.
    Not too many hoofs, I noticed.

  193. It’s not survival football if you play it all the time. Do you play it to get promoted? When you get up, do you play it when you play against Birmingham as well as against Arsenal?

    That argument is the medias’ again, they ‘have to’ play that way to ‘survive’. That’s a lie. Yes, you can play that way to ‘survive’ with your backs to the wall perhaps but these teams play it ALL the time. Why? What is the point? Wil they evolve into butterflies when they have stashed enough Premiership loot away?

    Be serious. They are goons. Pulis doesnt just play that style of football out of necesity, he believes in it. Read back to the posts of those Stoke fans. They have contempt for the way we play. Tippy tappy foreign ponciness. They have contempt for Wenger, our club and the way we play.

    People like Pulis, by their approach, are keeping their clubs, and England, firmly rooted in the past. Success will never come. It just keeps him in a job.

    Would you want to share a lift with Pulis?

  194. Gadget – Excellent post.

    Serk – I am not defending anything mate. Just saying that it has its place.

    I may also add that Pulis is a prize cunt, and I hate the baseball wearing cap with all of my being. Not as much as John Terry mind, but still.

  195. Vaguely tangential to the footy styles debate; a mate at work (Liverpool) was stoutly defending Arsenal to a Manc supporting colleague. He of course immediately went up in my estimation. His argument against the old shite about our weakness being that we can’t defend was this:
    Do you seriously think that if the Arsenal defence and midfield were told to shut up shop and play the percentages that they couldn’t do it? They’d be impassable. Any player can play any game they’re told to, some can do lots of things better than others. Imagine If you parked Song and deni in front of our first choice back four and ordered them all to remain in our half. No fucker would score against us, we’d probably win every trophy going and it would be utterly utterly depressing.

  196. I fully agree. We could easily play some sort of 4 – 5 – 1 with two very defensive DMs and ordering our left/right midfielder to stay in our half and it would probably still work in our favour since we would be deadly on the counter. But that’s not what I would want to watch …

  197. Hello all,
    to my American gooners… how are you planning on watching the game today/tonight??? As far as I can tell its not on any of the normal mediums (FSC, EPSN2, ESPN3 etc) so I’m kinda in a bind. Should I wait for it to show up on ATVO and try not to find out the score? What are you all going to do?

    COYG

  198. A million links here
    http://www.myp2p.eu/broadcast.php?matchid=104982&part=sports
    hope my favourite Dutch station has it on

  199. Consolsbob, I missed the reference to your lament over the Guardian from yesterday’s comments. Would like to know the source of the ire, if you don’t mind going back to an unpleasant memory.

  200. NJGooner – You are quite right in that nobody is showing it live but YES network will be showing it at 9p.m. I believe. Better than nothing I suppose. Personally i will be sat on the sofa watching it on my laptop unless I hear from a friend of mine who is checking out some bars in Manhattan to see if they are showing it, I am sure he will come up with something.

  201. Seems CL ties are crowding out tv coverage of Arsenal in North America. I hope one of steww’s links will give a reasonable stream as it is on live nowhere here in Canada. Hopefully one of the aljazeera sport channels works as it is always fun hearing the Arabic commentators–pure poetry and enthusiasm.

    Is it being broadcast in Britain? Which is your favorite Dutch channel, steww?

  202. I thought CB was doing an impression of an old Daily Heil reader yesterday.

  203. So happy we picked another Barca youngster 🙂 didn’t see Arsenal.com confirming the transfer, any one see it?

  204. irish, how would the bars get it in NYC if it isn’t on any of the cable channels–dodgy satellite decoders? Again, I have to say, I am very glad about the YES network partnership. That puts Arsenal games and other tv programs like 360 etc… in a privileged position in the biggest media market in the US. I remember when YES was launched when I lived in NY (and they had a special agreement with ManU at the time) and it has become an important network for sports fans in the Northeast and Midatlantic regions. Good job, Gazidis and crew for negotiating that.

    But who can wait for 9pm for this game?!

  205. OOU, I thought there was a specific issue, but perhaps not!

  206. Irish–

    Blast! There’s always the illegal steaming option..but unfortunately I’m at work today (unlike last wednesday for Barca what up personal days!!!! Sorry still gtetting used to being a real adult!) so cant watch until about 530. Nor do i get the YES network. Might just have to wait for atvo and try and avoid a scoreline.

    We American Gooners jump through many a hoop for our boys in red and white! Solidarity Irish, solidarity!

  207. Well at least they realized their mistake and then went on to write a really good article. Would have ranked him a lot higher myself. El Capitan:

    http://backpagefootball.com/featured/top-50-players-in-the-world-cesc-fabregas/

  208. Limestone – I can’t remember the name but I’d recognise their logo. I watch it on the net and can’t understand too much of what they say but they get very excited about RVP and never seem to mention the opposition. Oh and their pronunciation of player names is very close to English so I like ’em!

  209. Sounds pretty good, steww! Alas RvP isn’t playing tonight; hopefully the commentators won’t be too downcast!

  210. Limestonegunner – Not sure if anyone will be showing but a friend of mine seems to think that he may know a bar or two with the ability to do so. How I don’t know.

    NJGooner – I feel your pain my friend. But having had to work through Arsenal games in the past I made myself a promise a few years ago and that was simply if I wanted to watch the game I would, regardless of what my employer said. I have yet to actually quit but I have had a few run-ins over the years. Especially last year when after calling in sick my boss walked into my local bar and found me grinning from ear to ear, with a beer in each hand, cheering each goal as they where shown in the high-lights after we had beaten the Chavs 3-1. I can only say thank God it had been a World Cup year and I had finally managed to get him interested in football, enough anyways that he laughed it off and joined in the celebrations!!!

  211. Might go Spanish – they love Fab4. The channel Is Dutch Sports Channel 4. Or maybe 5 not sure…. presented by a very laid back Dutch guy.

  212. I dunno, LG, I was just being silly about, CB. I’m sure he’ll take it well – people from Portsmouth are known for their sense of humour.

    Neil Banfield’s just coined a new expression:

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/reserves-news/-miquel-has-started-the-20-yard-walk-

  213. consolbob – “these teams play it ALL the time.”

    Exactly. What do Birmingham and Stoke, two mid-table clubs, have to gain from going out like they did a few weeks back and wasting 90 minutes of everyone’s life? More importantly would they really have lost all that much if they decided to have a go and lost? Still mid-table! Oh damn.

  214. evening y’all
    where have all the stoke tosspots gone?? pitty
    the reason why we have a high card count etc is cos after years of our kids being kicked the shit out of and getting their legs broken by crappy, hoofy, long bally, bully teams like stoke, theyve had enough….
    the kids have now become men they can now give just as much as they take and our cards are a result of the amount of times shitty hoofy crappy teams still try bully us only difference is they get kicked back..
    its that simple..we dont take no shit anymore
    we are the arsenal and we will play you off the pitch but if you want a war then we’ll kick you off it…
    and shawcross tackle wasnt a fucking accident…just like the shafting we will give stoke tonight wont be no accident either…

  215. “‘…people from Portsmouth..”!!!!Gah!

    I’m a Guz man not a Pompey one.

    Actually Limestone and Big Al, it really goes back to me days in Fleet St. Most hacks were prettyy awful but the Guardians’ were smugness and superiority personified. Think Hansen but with an ability to speak Engliah.

    My thought was, if your paper takes the moral high ground on every bloody issue, whay are you farting around making stupid cut and paste ‘Star Wars’ picture.

    Mind you, I always detested that Polly Toynbee.

  216. OOU, nice article on Miquel. I had suggested he make that walk in January in our cup fixtures when Squillaci was out and Djourou had not yet played two games a week once this season. Glad he has had a chance and took it rather well; he looked quite composed and will probably make real progress quickly. I hope he gets to play in the replay along with Ramsey in place of Song/Denilson. Thrilled to hear he will be coming back after the weekend and that Arsene says he will likely get games.

  217. Haha, I know you’re not a skate, CB, I was just messing.

  218. eyi_gooner | February 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm,

    I dare say that Red Nose’s intervention did assist create negative opinion against all things AFC. However, that is nothing new and it was after the manager and his hench men had done their work: maybe following a few bottles of red between Pubis and Red nose over the prior weekend.

  219. Cbob, I get you. I really dislike that feature they have of pillorying a player with these cartoonish images. I remember one they did earlier this season on Chamakh that I bothered to look at and found much of it quite tasteless, insulting, and derogatory. Shame… I would expect better but I haven’t had your inside experience of the ways of these journos.

  220. PS.

    I detest Red Nose and suspect he was behind the first ‘fall of man!’

    I’m not religious btw

  221. Nice article on Miquel. Really like this statement:
    “He was genuine, he made his mistakes, tried to rectify them and worked hard at his game. That’s what we try to produce with all the lads here. It’s not just about football, it’s about the roundness of being a person.”

    It feels good to support a club that want not only to develop great footballer but also responsible, intelligent individuals.

  222. This whole playing t their strengths thing is a load of crap. For Christ’s sake Stoke are meant to be a Premier League football team, even Crawley play better football than Stoke.

    Please do not tell me that a group of players who have managed to play in the top division of English football would not be able to pass and move under a different manager.

    Pullis chooses to play this way, he chooses to make his team play like a bunch of donkey’s. He is a shit manager full stop.

  223. This site they will have todays match. I hope so.

    http://eplsite.com/

    can try this also.

    http://atdhenet.tv/index.html

  224. Irishgray, I dont believe RVP is on that top 50 list?!

  225. Paul N – No he is not, but should be though, no doubt about that.

  226. ”… that’s what we try to produce with all the lads here. It’s not just about football, it’s about the roundness of being a person.”

    – Nick Banfield

  227. “He is a shit manager full stop.”

    Nail completely hit on the head there Drew10.

  228. Team v Stoke: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Fabregas, Walcott, Bendtner

  229. Not too many players better than RVP, if any.

    I also see they rate Bale over Nasri and they have 3 Barca players in the top 5( That seems a bit much to me).

  230. Irishgray – no offence but that was a shit list 🙂

  231. Is that the actual team dups?

  232. you got it, Luc!

  233. Neither Arshavin nor RvP were on that list (or Fabregas before they corrected it) but in typical fashion every member of the Barca first eleven except for Abidal and Valdes are among the 50 best!?! Arsenal need to dump Barca out of the CL if for no other reason than to end the sycophancy and exaggeration of the media Barca worship.

  234. Dups – I fully agree that it was a shit list but the point I was em eh pointing out was that they left Cesc off the list completely!! Not saying I agree with it at all but who in their right mind would leave him off? Especially when the very same website expresses the fact that he creates more chances from open play than any other player in Europe!!!

  235. That’s right: Bousquets, Pedro, Pique and Puyol are all top 50 but not Arshavin, RvP, Cesc (until corrected)!

    These guys and the rest of world football are going to be mighty surprised when we win a quadruple!

  236. OK its off to the deli for me to pick up some beer, might even get some cider in honor of Consolsbob 🙂 some munchies as well. If and when someone gets a nice stream, would you do me the favor of posting a link? Thanks COYG

  237. The mood before bbb was one of defiance against orient it was nonchalant why do I get the feel that there is an air of trepidation tonight?

  238. I was peeved when I saw that list, but if it’s for the year 2010 then there’s no way you can include RvP really. He can’t have played more than 10 matches for Arsenal in that time.

  239. of course hes shit
    he tells his team to kick and hoof
    and i also agree its his choice to play that way..
    holloway dont tell his lads to ‘do waht they need to do to survive v the big teams” and they are doing great..

  240. that teams good enough
    would have liked to have seen chamakh but understand why AW went with nik
    hes looking more confident at the minute than cham

  241. Now, Song’s exclusion is another matter!

  242. Good point, OOU about Song and RvP. My outrage is re-directed!

  243. Stoke team from twitter

    “Stoke XI: Cnut, Cnut, Cnut super, cnut, cnut, Cashleys boyfriend, Whelan, time-wasting cnut, cnut, cnut, cnut.

  244. Awesome, my stream has Nigel Winterburn in the studio!!

  245. Fantastic, they are showing us a look back at Kanu’s goal against Chelsea–I have no idea what station/channel this is but that is how I like to start getting prepped for the game! Winterburn making no bones about his Arsenal affiliation (memo to Stewart Robson–you don’t have to be a jerk to get work) and a memory of a fantastic game and Arsenal great goal. Good omens, folks.

    COYG!!!!!!!!!!

  246. that link is live

  247. I checked out MDG’s link and got a picture of a teenager in her pants asking if I wanted to be her friend. Can’t help thinking I might be a tad on the elderly side, don’t know what we’d have in common.

  248. I find this sopcast business very confusing.

    Brilliant when you get it but every channel i choose tonight is showing old Braca or Itlaian dtuff.

    Anyone got a sopcast channel for the match?

  249. Shawcross is Stokes capitan!

  250. Edited selection of the commentry on the Cardiff vs. StokeBet365+Sky FA Cup game, from the FA.com stream:

    Peter Walton, Stoke’s good friend, was the ref.
    First half:

    “Another big long ball up.

    Stoke get the ball wide but aren’t getting enough bodies in the box.

    They’re just not getting the ball to stick in the box.

    Nothing much to talk about.

    Lets be honest, this isn’t a game for the purist.

    This is a very low quality game.

    Cardiff don’t normally play like this, Stoke do.

    This games got to get better and I’m sure it will.

    Someone’s got to go through.”

    Second Half:

    “Change is imminent, as predictable a change as you could imagine.

    1 second 1 mistake 1 moment of quality is all we need.

    Not enough beards in football. That’s my opinion.

    Tony Pulis’ face probably sums up what we’ve seen here this evening.

    Have you ever seen a match with fewer shots? Answers on twitter to …

    All we are saying is give us a goal is the chant that goes up.”

    90th Minute: No Penalty to Cardiff. Only one inconclusive replay shown.

    ET: Fell asleep, missed the rest. Stoke went on to win, as you’d expect from a PL team in ET, a nice goal from one of their players who doesn’t play much.
    Lucky with that penalty appeal. I guess.

    COYG!

  251. How did the ball not go in??

    Lively start…

  252. Fuuck how did that come back out?

  253. Are Stoke fans watching? Do they really prefer hoof ball to this artistry we are displaying on the pitch? F*ck we should be 1 up already. Anyway, seems like Stoke might be in for a trashing if we continue like this. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

  254. Sorry Steww – don’t know what that was about

  255. What a start!

  256. DW MD – it was just one of those net ads they are everywhere!

  257. The ‘so many years with out a trophy shit’ 6.33 minutes in that is nearly a record

  258. Fucking get in.

  259. Get innnnn

  260. they boys are on fire!

  261. Lil Jack taking th corner.. Big Nic controls at far post and puts it into the 6 yard box for Squilly to score…

    1-0..

  262. lol lil jack and big nic! what a couple!

  263. Absolutely love the reception Delap’s throws are getting.

  264. haha i’m lovin it. could be 3 nil already!! cmon you fuckin gooners

  265. Stoke took more time for their 2 ‘throws’ than Arsenal took between Big Nic winning the corner and Squilly celebrating the goal!!!

  266. Scumcross getting Ashley Cole levels of shit

  267. Fuck fuck fuck fab injured.

  268. Fab coming off?

  269. fab coming off 😦 arsh coming in

  270. steww,
    what happened to Cesc?? I didn’t see any hard tackles on him..

  271. thank god Arsh has found his good form back

  272. whats up with fabs?

  273. He signalled asking to come off so we can only guess muscle injury.

  274. Whats happened to cesc then?

  275. So much resting on Li’l Jack and samir now.

  276. Hope it is more of a precautionary.. Want him for the Farca game…

  277. guess we wont know until it explodes in the papers tomorrow. The pundits visibley glowing with excitiment,…

  278. Unbelievable how our injuries strike and when.
    Fabianski, Kos, Vermaelen, Fab and RVP – spine of the team?
    Thank fuck we have such a great squad. But seriously we are missing some extra special talent.

  279. Haven’t seen a Stoke ‘throw’ for about 10minutes… The boys doing well containing them..

  280. usually once your team goes down you try and attack. In stoke’s case, they actually start to defend deeper!

  281. Well tbh stoke look rather tame so far. Not one dirty tackle(knock wood), and i read somwhere they were not going to go 100% for this match? what would they be saving for?

  282. We are calm in possession and under pressure for the most part and I think the team matures.

  283. also i would love it so much if we just passed the ball around like this the whole game and make those cunts chase the ball for90 minutes.

  284. Watching Stoke play makes my eyes bleed.

  285. Stoke looking to bore their way into the game. Games a bit flat for the moment.

  286. Oh shit we can’t have cesc missing for camp nou! NO!!

  287. I wish you can ‘like’ people’s comments such as on facebook I think that would liven up this aclf chat..and a dislike button of course. That way if there are 10 dislikes people like jonjon can stop saying shit on here. sounds swell

  288. tbh stoke has hardly seen the ball, its insane..lol

  289. MDG – thanks for he link mate, nice one Squilly!!!

    Dups – hahaha re; Stoke team from twitter, i especially like how he respected Whelan after he helped Aaron Ramsey that day, is the only Stoke player I have some respect for.

  290. C’mon Arsenal….

  291. i hope hes not taken to camp nou if we overtake United before we go to Barcelona. Dont want to have a replay of last year where he was out for the rest of the season due to an injury vs Barcelona. We need him to much for that.

  292. great save !!!!

  293. Gr8 save from Chesney.. He must be getting bored standing there alone… Would have loved to have his mobile to send some tweets..

  294. Sczeny!!

  295. szcechzshney is a beast isn’t he?

  296. Jack is growing game by game. So confident.

  297. Gentle foul by Scumcross’s standards.

  298. Chesney is a confident and Gr8 puncher…

  299. I cant belive it! the pundits ask for consistent refing???? All you need to do is shout Newcastle into their faces!

  300. Set pieces, they have one idea. Open play? Nothing. Imagine having to support shit like Stoke.

  301. true, steww… And what a beautiful cross from Lil Jack to Big Nic…

  302. I think all they need is a 15 min pep talk with AW and they will come out and kill the game.

  303. Is it just me or does anyone else start falling asleep as soon as Stoke get the ball?

  304. My commentator said something I didn’t catch. Possibly in Spanish.

  305. I bet 10 % of Stokes 45% possession have been Delap holding and drying the ball.

  306. Evil,
    LMAO..

    Squilly and JD have been very efficient till now..

  307. The life went out of the stadium with Cesc’s injury. Need to kill them off can’t face another Orient.

  308. We are playing pretty decent, a bit scrappy in midfield but I think we will settle even more in the second half. I do not like the big gap we are leaving in midfield though when we push forward. Can see Stoke trying to take advantage of that in the second half but reckon AW will mention it to Song and he will take care of it. 1-0 looks good for half time, good on Squilly too.

  309. No goals in the CL so far today.

  310. Agreed Steww, and I think it is down to Nasri with the armband and the central midfield creator position now to quicken the tempo. But I would especially like to see Wilshere get forward and make things happen. He looks confident but is still deferential in the final third. Maybe he should take a shot from distance once or twice.

  311. I think we’re just waiting for Stoke to commit more people to attack..

  312. Orbinho on twitter:
    HT Stats Arsenal v Stoke Shots 6-3 On target 3-1 Fouls 3-2 Duels Won 47%-53% Passing accuracy 88%-69% Possession 74%-26%

  313. Is anyone watching the Marseilles v Manure game? If so Christopher O’Sullivan(former US international) just put Warren Barton in his place when he said Marseilles where not the better team as he believed Manure could raise it up a gear or 2. O’Sullivan said correctly that Marseilles where the better team in the first half, which Barton then said he agreed with, so how can Manure be the better team? As plundits they are discussing the first half for fuck sake!!! WB is such a smug idiot, is he related to Pulis by any chance?

  314. Marseille are not pushing ManU sufficiently…too comfortable for the Mancs….no injuries 😦

  315. Cesc signalled to come off as a precaution, knowing the opposition play an overly-physical brand of football. Without being a psychic, and privy to his prognosis; if one had to hasten a guess – a couple of games rest (possibly even 3), one would deem sufficient enough to rehabilitate him.

  316. Richard Clarke the editor of Arsenal.com told the ATVO commentary team during the first half that Van Persie and Koscielny will possibly (but most probably) be available for the Carling cup final on Sunday.

  317. 74 – 26 seems much more accurate than the 55 – 45 that were displayed on TV. Why is there such a big difference?

  318. sop://broker.sopcast.com:3912/6816

    Great stream, and in English too. Although in control we really could do with a 2nd to kill off the game. They are more than capable of getting a goal from a set piece. Cesc going off really halted our forward momentum. Hope it is not serious.

  319. Streams anyone?

  320. Who is this broadcaster, I have no idea. But in addition to a retrospective in halftime on Arsenal’s undefeated season and the end of the unbeaten string v. ManU (ugh) they have a “heroes” piece on Bergkamp. Meanwhile, Winterburn in studio keeping it real.

    I could get used to this. What a stark contrast with the norm. I have to find out who is broadcasting on this feed.

  321. Why wasn’t that foul from Carew on JD a yellow??

  322. Commentators saying cesc ferling tightness in hams and came of as precaution. Phew

  323. Cesc “Not a major worry at this stage.” espn – so meaningless… apologies! fucking hate this bunch so much….curses!

  324. fuck that was close

  325. I see pulis has had a chat with his players re: challenge on Djourou, what a bunch of cunts!!!

  326. did i read drying the ball? did someone actually give delap a towel at the grove?

  327. Bloody ref…

  328. So Walton losing control of the game again, huh?

  329. 3 fouls with atleast 2 bookable and not one of them booked…

  330. Looks like a studs up challenge on Bacary … yep just seen the replay. Not awful by their standards but studs up

  331. well good old stoke back :S well hope the guys are givin it back

  332. Pulis has told them to hurt someone by the look of it. Come on ref.

  333. Just seen the matchcast report on yahoo who have said that Fabregas has a tight muscle in the leg and was removed for precautionary measures!
    Oh and Delap is a dirty b*stard!!!

  334. but as the comentators say ” squilacci was much worse in the start” :p

  335. Diaby was sent of for throwing someone to the ground. Now it’s not even a yellow…

  336. That’s great news @Darius

    For confidence reasons, having Persie & Kos back would be an immense boost to squad’s spirit.

    Ramsey and hopefully Diaby will also play an integral part in our ascent, in upcoming games.

  337. According to my stream Clichy is sent off, haha. Stupid TV people.

  338. Bloody ref… Booked Clichy but not Delap or Carew..

  339. Cesc has a muscular injury that needs a scan – it’s in between the lower hammy and the knee. Cesc request to come off was precautionery but not much will be known until after a scan.

  340. Come on Arsenal – let’s not play their game!

  341. Now he books Gael. Unreal. Not the booking – but that he hasn’t booked one of them.

  342. Evil, I saw that too..

  343. who is left on the bench that can spike things up a bit?

  344. Sczxesczh was nowhere near that.
    Looking to AA at times like this. He has the quality and the experience.

  345. don’t like the look of this game now….we need a second one

  346. they can do it if they stop misplacing so many passes. we are after all a passing team and not a hoofing team.

  347. Marseilles all over Manure but no goal as yet, its coming though

  348. Good shot Wilshere; that’s what we should see more of.

  349. Gr8 shot from Lil Jack but straight at the keeper..
    Then gr8 skill and pass from AA, Theo shoots wide.. Need a 2nd goal now.. To settle my nerve..

  350. You really see what Cesc brings the team. He has so much time, makes space, draws players to him.
    Having said that, this is opening up now. Great play from AA, unlucky Theo.

  351. I sometimes wonder how Bendy expects to score. He just doesn’t play as an orthodox striker. That cut back for theo, where was he?

  352. Is Rosicky on the bench? he could make the difference in midfield.

  353. How was that a foul when JD got the ball without even fouling Carew??

  354. AWESOME WALTON! You son of a b*tch.

  355. And how was that not a foul on Theo???

  356. What the fuck’s going on with refs recently?

  357. If JD fouled Carew then how was that not a foul on Theo?????????????

  358. Fuck – Walcott has sprained his ankle.

  359. Stoke showing their true colours here

  360. aparantley it was a clumsy challenge, hes not that kind of guy really.

  361. Usually a yellow card and a foul, but not according to Walton. And another of our players injured by Stoke thugs.

  362. 2 injured and the game isn’t over yet…
    Deni coming on for Theo???

  363. Oh, no, Walcott, too!

  364. FUCK STOKE!!!! SCUMBAGS!!

  365. They have fucked up Theo now aswell.

  366. I bet they broke yet another leg of an arsenal player tonite

  367. That was his achilles. Fuck these cunts.

  368. Two games with Walton in charge against thugs, two injuries, both times because Walton just does not know how to control a game. Definitely one of the worst ones in the business.

  369. Typical Walton – Cowardly ref. Theo was fouled by either or both players on his way down. But Walton just chickened out on making a call.

  370. Terrible–we need Theo for the Barca game. Shades of last season… Come on Gunners!

  371. He hurt him by falling on him but from the replay you could see there was only one man trying to play the ball.
    We couldn’t have played a worse team the week of a big game.

  372. What a load off dirty bastards stoke are. Bloody hell. Theo out as well.

  373. have just realized why we had so few injuries as opposed to this time last year. Our game against these cunts was postponed!!!!!!!! They are more than making up for it. Can’t wait to see them relegated!!!!!!

  374. Oh come on! Be reasonable.

    They are only playing to their strengths.

  375. Coward and inept.

  376. That dirtbag of a commentator said regarding Walcott, “he went down a little to easy under that challenge…”

  377. this is getting ridiculouse. I wonder how nobody sees that. is the entire nation of England blind?

  378. Played Nic – that’s how you stand up to the thugs. No need to foul them.

  379. It would seriousley be worth a red card on an arsenal player just to break Shawcrosses leg. He is afer all the captain.

  380. Lil Jack curls the ball well…

  381. Sorry Bob – I read goonerandy’s apologia as well. Of course, you can’t blame plucky Stoke for breaking the rules.

  382. Denilson on. Inevitable because our possession and passing was becoming ragged. It frankly amazes me that the anti-Denilson “experts” fail to understand why he is Wenger’s choice first off the bench to kill a game.

  383. Here it is Stoke’s big moment. A throw.

  384. Irony steww? Moi?

  385. My countryman, Fuller, is coming on to do his best bull-in-a-china shop impression.

  386. Chamakh coming in for Big Nic… I would have kept both just for some ariel presence in the final 10-15mins..

  387. And it’s immediate as well Shotta, the control and passing is back.

  388. If you can’t beat them – kick them. Fuck everyone t

  389. Dancing with the snood boys…

  390. Would have brought on Gibbs on left wing and switched Arshavin. I think Wilshere will need to play central creator now in the Cesc position as Nasri moves up to the right. Come on Jack, you can do it.

    Lots of long balls recently–need to get back to Arsenal football. Chamakh on, so hopefully a bit more discipline and organization in our attack. He could use a goal. I remember at the beginning of the season, Jack created some good chances in and around the box combining with Chamakh and Arshavin.

  391. Chamakh on to neutralize Fuller.

  392. 10 minutes on my clock. I’d quite like that second goal please.

  393. its cos nobody really sees the job Denny does. Hes the cleaner that sweeps the ball, keeps it in the team and makes it possible for the artists to shine. You never thank the cleaning ladys do you? but you would loose the match against germs without them.

  394. Me too, steww.. Just to settle the nerve..

  395. Lovely from Chamack. Got that cunt booked.

  396. A beautiful passage of play with Nasri nearly through at the end. Again deni glueing the whole thing together.

  397. I was going to say fuck everyone today who was supporting Stoke’s right to kick us.

  398. come on arsenal

  399. Well said Darius. There were some shameful apologists out there.

  400. Great tackle by Arshavin!

  401. Whelan buys a free kick. schezschx had it covered

  402. 5 minutes stoppage? they really really do not want arsenal to win these refs do they? did they all grow up in manchester or something?

  403. 5 minutes. Oh be still my beating heart.

  404. Why are we long-balling it down field? Let’s keep possession and build into their half.

  405. Jack is calm but some older heads are kicking the ball away….

  406. So clever winning that corner

  407. I feel sick!!!! 😦

  408. about a min of the 5 added minutes left…

  409. Where is the fucking whistle?? 5mins are over..

  410. Lord I hate stoke

  411. Yessssss, another win..

  412. Fuck yes!!!!!!

  413. Tree points!!!

  414. fuck me,that was harder than barca

  415. You can stick that one where the sun don’t shine, Pulis.

  416. What’s going on, I can’t watch the game?

  417. Thank fuck for that.

  418. Oh Thank God

  419. 1-0 to the Arsenal. F*ck you Walton!

  420. relief….

  421. Great win.

    Not too woried about Cesc, he’ll be ok. Theo looks a bad one.

  422. A very hard fought victory.. A pt behind ManUre and huge pressure on them for the weekend..

  423. Those commentators are SO stupid, I really can’t stand it. There is nothing “ironic” about us scoring from a set piece. There is no irony whatsoever. Don’t you need some general education to be allowed to talk publicly on TV?

  424. Hats off to AA those last few minutes especially. And Nasri. Not just holding the ball but taking them on and making them think defensively rather than offensively. Lets just hope Theo and El Capitan are ok.

  425. hate stoke. hope their fans get a long miserable trip home, tha their cars break down and that their busses are canceled.

  426. Costly victory if both Cesc and Theo are out for a while. Sagna got a hard knock, and Nasri too. Let’s hope Cesc comes back right away and Theo’s isn’t a bad sprain.

    Gutty win. Steely determination. Good job and thanks to Squillaci. Everyone is playing a part. Good job Gunners!

  427. AW – wash your hands, Lord ! Quiet but assured… Pulis, you cuntmeister of a fuckchancer, son a bitch’s whore………… you LOSE!!

  428. I could hear the collective groan in Le Grove after the final whistle, Squillaci match winner and a great defensive perfomance. This team just continues to amaze the attitude is spot on and Arshavin is truly back.

  429. Any idea of the injury count?

  430. oh but it will ” be so ironic” if arsenal win the PL this year. And if they win its not cos they are good , its cos United are not up to their normal standars.

  431. Evil – I am afraid it is quite the opposite, if you have an education you are automatically ruled out from being a plundit.

  432. CBob, I would add Walton to that list.. He was shocking today…

  433. 1- 0 to the Arsenal. Boring boring Arsenal. Trur grit.

  434. My crystal ball says Cesc misses Birmingham but is back after that and Theo has a dead leg and is fine tomorrow.
    It also says pancakes for breakfast tomorrow so not too reliable I’m afraid.

  435. Poodle – speaking of Manure they where held 0-0 at Marseilles, so lets hope Marseilles can get at leaast a scoring draw to knock them out in the return leg.

  436. Did you see the perfunctory handshake, pb?

    Wenger hates the bastard.

  437. Just a few post match thoughts – There is something unholy about this bunch of inbred cunts, before the match we lose our best striker & best defender (on form) within minutes of kick off we lose our captain then Theo. they are like a swarm of locusts, a plague, bastards.
    Towards the end when it was getting hairy one “man” stood out – jack wilshere. he’s shown a temperament belying his years.
    And of course FUCK OFF STOKE, PUBIS, SHAWCROSS

  438. Nobody defended Stoke’s “right to kick us”. People were discussing Stoke’s use of the long ball game, not their dirty approach to the game. Don’t let simple facts get in the way of your childish comments though.

    Good win, and I thought we defended particularly well against their shite long ball/throw game. Djourou and Sagna especially. Despite a bit of pressure from them, they never really looked like scoring.

  439. It would be a shame if Cesc is out for Birmingham. He wont lift the cup then and he really deserves to lift it.

  440. Steww – The anti-Denilson experts have absolutely no clue to the importance of the possession game. We gave a masterclass in possession, denying the Stoke hooligans even the sniff of a chance in the last 15 minutes of this game. These “experts” think football is merely kick and rush, grand hollywood passes and the resulting loss of possession. Well tonight we had to protect a precious one-goal lead and we needed the pass-master to stabilize the ship.
    Long live Nieves Denilson!

  441. @ everyone who reckoned they wouldn’t target Jack…. right enough; but Theo is English, Aaron would be English if it was 600 years ago…. and Gattusi.. we love ya!
    Seriously: Well done the whole team. Sammy no.1 for me, if we must be figuritive….

  442. He’s on it, Indian.

  443. i guess RvP will lift it instead then ! 🙂

  444. For the first time through an Arsenal game, I felt the urge to switch off the tv and follow the game here and on twitter… Horrible horrible game…

  445. Consolsbob – Everybody hates the tracksuit wearing bastard. By the way the cider is going down pretty well here, may pop out now and make a night out of it 🙂

  446. Steww – Don’t think you can get a dead leg on your ankle mate. Whelen’s (or whatever the fuck he is called) big fat knee landed square on his ankle by the looks of it.

  447. Thats what you call grinding out a result! We can do it too!!

  448. We’re 1 point behind United. The pressure is now on them to rise to the challenge. Should they lose or draw (the likeliest outcome away from home), Arsenal will regain pole position by a point or two,

  449. Runebreaker,
    Add the Big Nic cross to the equation..

  450. Just to say; I really hate that spiteful cunt Pulis.

  451. Atleast the post-match ‘anal-ysis’ is showing the tackles with the caption ‘Stoke gets tough’.

  452. I roundly endorse a big EFF-U to Pulis, the author of this shitty, thuggish football.

  453. I am sure some of you lot must be related to Denilson.

  454. Yeah Consols.. No love lost; just a shame Arsene didn’t whack on a surgical glove just before… Pubis, eat your ghastly fucking hat, you cunnifucktittishitmeister # stoke your fires with Ryan tonight……….. You may as well comfort each other with —

  455. Manures next 5 games are – Wigan (A) Chelsea (A) Liverpool (A) Arsenal FA Cup (H) Marseilles CL (H)

    Arsenal’s next 5 games are – Birm CC Final, Orient (H), Sunderland (H), Barca CL(A), West Brom (A)

    Advantage Arsenal I hear you say? Hell Yea!!!

  456. I would love to see them relegated, they’re the worst excuse for a football team or sport in general.

  457. Thank you lord I had a stream of non-English commentators. But I could feel the fans. They made those douche-bags know what we think of them.

  458. Let’s hope Cesc’s and Theo’s injuries aren’t too bad. Regardless, given Cesc’s injury today, is there any conceivable way now we don’t take Rambo back from Cardiff?

  459. There was more composure on the pitch than in my house I can tell you. We never stopped trying to pass our way around and through them. They had a few minutes in the second half when they’d disrupted our flow but we never ever stopped trying to do it properly.
    They were as horrible as you’d expect.

  460. ArseChicago – He is back after Saturday.

  461. It would not suprise me if they had broken yet another leg at the emirates. He could not walk on it and had to be stretched off. thats bad! thank god Aaron is back and Diaby. We need them now.

  462. goonerandy | February 23, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    Yes goonerandy – Some of us are related to Denilson’s pure football DNA and not the shitty passing and disrespect for possession that passes for football in most PL teams, save Arsenal. Do you have a problem with that?

  463. To be fair there was nothing malicious in that tackle on Theo. It wasn’t even a tackle, he just landed on him badly.

  464. But as someone said, once Denilson came in we seemd to find our shape again, things started to click again and we found our rythm. then Chamakhs work ethichs are just insane. hes clever and skilled and sly. Just the way we like em 🙂

  465. Denilson’s and Chamakh’s substitution were spot on.. Deni helped in getting our possession game back when we weren’t keeping it..

  466. And we were good, bar a few incidents; played the passing game, good midfield, solid at the back. Basically we made them look as mediocre as they are. Just wish Shawcross had suffered more…Otherwise, all well ..

  467. Theo – sprained ankle.

  468. You would think he is the next coming the way some of you go on about him. He is an average player, nothing more. I don’t suppose people would have said a world should Pennant have scored the free kick at the end from Denilson giving away a stupid free kick on the edge of the area? More than likely blamed the ref and said it was not a free kick in the first place.

    The sooner Ramsey and Diaby get back into the squad the better.

    Anyway, I am not getting into this. Done it a million times before and it is boring.

  469. Of course, GA. Deni should just have stayed away from Whelan, right? Do you remember how we conceded the 4 – 4 against Newcastle? Better to give Whelan a free direct shot on goal than to try and block it by your logic?

  470. But Cesc has a chance for the weekend.

  471. to be fair Andy there was nothing malicouse in the tackle of Ramsey neither. Shawcross did not mean it, he was not like Barton. Very few tackles are malicious. Who in his right mind goes into a tackle and thinks now i will break his leg? nobody does. So really there should be no red cards in the game for tackles that lead to injury, unless they are malicous or intended. Just being reckless and clumsy are no reasons for carding. It has to be with an intent. And if is not then really, its a part of the game right?

  472. Or better still, he could have closed him down, and “stood him up”. Or he could have just barged into him and gave away a free kick which is what he did.

  473. goonerandy, I am sure Denilson was not the only one who made a mistake that couldve cost us. That statement makes you seem simple, dont do that.

  474. no no i agree Andy i totally do. No malice or intention of injuring it should not be freekick or even a card. It just should not. You cannot blame average players for not managing to tackle clean on players that are as fast as Walcott or as technical as Ramsey. Its just not fair. You cannot expect them to keep up. I totally see your point Andy. I see what you mean. And i think most pundits agree with you.

  475. Position Team P GD PTS
    Full Barclays Premier League table
    1 Man Utd 26 32 57
    2 Arsenal 27 30 56
    3 Man City 27 19 49
    4 Tottenham 27 7 47
    5 Chelsea 26 24 45
    6 Liverpool 27 3 39

    Me likey very muchy 🙂

  476. poodle – Have you seen the challenge on Theo? If there was any damage, it really would be harsh to demonize the opposition player in this case. If he had not have landed on him Theo would have gotten up straight away. It was not reckless or anything like that.

  477. goonerandy | February 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    – Your “expert” opinion shows why Arsene Wenger is the manager of Arsenal football club, el primero uno in top 50 coaches over the past ten years, while you can consistently expose your elevated football knowledge on this blog.
    – Long live Arsene Wenger and his continued reliance on Nieves Denilson to finish off games.

  478. goonerandy
    Ref Denilson and your judgement on the flailing grappling stumbling abortion of a challenge that led to theo getting hurt
    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

  479. sprained ankle? does that mean hes back for barca? or does that mean hes out until April?

  480. Paul – I don’t doubt it. But we were talking about Denilson.

  481. Good night x

  482. @GA
    If you are rushing to block a shot you are obviously going to build up momentum. If you have built up a certain momentum, it is very hard to just stop. So, by your logic again, it would have been better if Denilson had acted slower, to prevent himself from creating any kind of momentum that might make a stop harder?

  483. If you dont want to seem simple that is.

    All of the players did what it took for us to get the win and thats all that matters.

    poodle, I believe Shawcross was malicous whether he meant to break his leg isnt the point to me, it was the force with which he went it. He wanted to send a message.

  484. steww – hope you take your own wise advice mate.

  485. One of my closest friends is named Andy, he knows nothing about football either. Is it something to do with the name by any chance or just a coincidence?

  486. As a little aside can I point out that Arsenal were the only team to win their home game in this latest round of Champions League matches! – God were brilliant! 🙂

  487. Paul – Agreed. (Not me being simple of course 😉 )

  488. I still don’t know where Stoke is, but today I’ve learned something about their football and the parasites they carry: not dangerous, but lively. An interesting species, shall we preserve it for future reference?

  489. Good evening ACLF,

    I cannot remember the last time I was so nervous at the end of a game. Probably even worse than Newcastle. The thought of Shawcross, Pulis and co snatching a late draw really made me feel sick inside.

    At this stage it is about the results so I am very happy that we managed to get the points. Our passing tempo was far too slow throughout the game and I suspect that a combination of Squillaci’s goal as well as a certain cup final on Sunday had something to do with it.

    I hope Cesc and Theo are not too bad. Arshavin has found some form at the right time, thought he did well late on when we needed to keep the ball. Denilson made a big difference when he came on, kept it very well. Cannot remember him losing a pass to be honest.

    Wasn’t the best performance in the world and I guess Birmingham will be looking at that and getting their hopes up, that would be a mistake. A certain Robin Van the man Persie totally changes our attack.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the end of the injuries, we have had a good run with a fit squad for a change. It is now time for the squad to step up. Whoever gets the shout to play has to raise their game.

    Was watching close up with Abou Diaby on ATVO and it hit me how good he really is. He still has a massive part to play in this season. The same with Rambo who is now finding his feet.

    1 point behind the Mancs with the boys from Surrey still needing to go to Chelsea and Liverpool in the new few weeks. Let’s see what they are made of.

    COYG.

  490. yes ive seen the tackle on Theo. It was clumsy and not intended, it was just unforunate. He really did not mean it. He was just an average player that got a bit to eager. It can happend to the best of us. Just a shame it “happends to the best of us” all the time against Arsenal. Weird that huh? How suddenly everyone becomes bambie on ice when it comes to tackeling Arsenal players.
    But i still think you are right, no malice, no intent to harm just unlucky and clumsy. The commentators said the same.

  491. On a closing note, this is the only place I come where Denilson is well regarded. All other fans I speak to Arsenal or otherwise think he is a bit average at best. So in the big scheme of things it is the minority that think he is some sort of world class pass master.

    Do you know when people say if you don’t have an annoying friend……it is you. I think the same may apply here.

    A bid you good night.

  492. AT LAST WE HAVE A KEEPER WHO IS NOT AFRAID OF CROSSES INTO THE BOX.SZCZESNY IS THE ONE AND ONLY.OUR KEEPER FOR THE NEXT DECADE

  493. Stoke is basically a bleak northern carbunkle, populated by misreable oatcake eating tossers!

  494. But andy as you say the most important today was a win. no reason to talk about tackles or injuries. We got United on their toes and thats what matters. Stoke lost and it makes me feel great to think how miserable they feel right now. I hope theo is back soon and im sure Sawcross makes his team mate go to apologise even though he did not mean it.
    I hope cesc is back soon to tbh.

  495. The fact is outside of a punch in the gut ala Joey Barton on Pederson or some other similar situation it is impossible to prove maliciousness, that is why “reckless” tackles ARE punishable by either a red or yellow, depending on the severity of the challenge or if the challenge is in denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

    Whether or not malice was involved re: Shawcross (I don’t think it was) is immaterial. He was reckless, which in turn means it was a dangerous tackle which resulted in a broken leg, and was worthy of a red card. Which he got. Only retards such as Tony Pulis cannot understand that.

  496. no goonerandy Shotta and Steww were commending Denilson and that was an opportunity for sarcasm on your part, so you felt atleast. No discussion at all. However to point out A (one that is) percieved mistake in a match to try to prove your point makes you seem very simple.

    If you watched the match you would know that othe players gave the ball away in dangerous areas. Maybe you only saw the part that you mentioned.

  497. @GA
    So, your logic as usual “the majority is always right”. Just to remind you of something: until this season this place was probably the only website where you could find positive words written about Fabianski while basically every other website dealing with Arsenal slagged him off at every opportunity, calling him derogatory names and so on. The regulars on ACLF believed that Fabianski was a good keeper who only needed confidence while everyone else was having a go at him. I think you can decide who was right about Fabianski. 😉

  498. @irishguy i think you regard the average man way to high. Alot of people cannot understand that. Thats what is wrong with English football. There are excuses for everthing. Nobody has to take responsibility its all about the excuses. And people think its ok.

  499. I didnt say you were simple, just that by that comment it could be perceived and I dont want that to be. I think criticism should be constructive and not nit pikcing if you get my drift?

  500. Everyone slated Arsharvin too , said he was crap and had to be sold. he went out in arsena.com today and said writings in the press etc had made him get low selfesteenm and thus he played worse.

    It matters what we write here. the playes got internet. they may not read all blogs but when they do and all they get is shit, it wont help their game will it?

  501. Poodle – What the hell are you talking about?

  502. “I am afraid it is quite the opposite, if you have an education you are automatically ruled out from being a plundit”.

    This explains, why we are continually subjected to the ill-informed views of uncultured and inerudite clowns, masquerading as ‘experts’ on the television & print.

    And they dare to scorn at our learned Wenger. What ignoble fools!

  503. Funny, Valdes makes a mistake at his near post and we score. Now Julio Cesar palms a 20 yard shot by Robben into the path of Gomez to gift Bayern a 1-0 win over Inter. Will be interesting to see if both sets of fans call for new GK’s.

  504. Fucking ref should be investigated.what a nervy 2nd half,glad that the boys hang on to the 3 points inspite of the ref.COYR!

  505. Bradys right foot

    Well done Seb, big goal and big result. Role on Birmingham and 3 points closer to the Mancs job done. Theo should be ready for Barca, Cesc is precautionary, Rvp and Kozzer back. Two home games after the final, take it all in Gooners seasons like this don’t come around to often.

  506. Second half was a bit scary. You could see what Pulis has told his players. They came out and tackles started flying. Sagna was lucky to escape an injury. We can’t complain too much, that is the only way they know and we dealt with it. The worrying thing for me is the Birmingham game because they are as nasty as Stoke if not worst, I’m hoping we don’t pick up more injuries in that game.

  507. Nobody knows… (shpeekin for mysheltff – and nobody caeres….sissect, soidexxt..

  508. Finnish – there are some things in life that you are better off not knowing about, and believe me the whereabouts of Stoke-on-Trent is one of them. I was unfortunate enough to have to go there once in a while, you have missed nothing.
    I hope Ronne and the other ‘Mickey Loves’ return home safely to their beloved oatcakes.

  509. Onwards and, definitely, upwards.

    Fuck Pulis. He just does not matter in the greater scheme of things.

  510. Nice vid, Irish. Great captain. Best creator in Europe. Get fit soon, Cesc.

  511. Dam right he is LSG. I know he should not matter Consolsbob but the fucker does when he sends out his henchmen to scythe into our players the way they did after his half-time talk. That cannot be coincidence!!! I am actually glad Cesc felt a twinge and took himself off as I could see him getting really seriously injured by them in the second half. great win by the way, nervy at the end but solid as a rock!! Are you watching Utd?

  512. That was tight at the start of the second half, but we asserted control, especially after Denilson came on. In the last 20 minutes they were nowhere near as menacing and we looked comfy.

    Cesc is looking like three weeks, isn’t it? Maybe it’s a grade one and we can keep our fingers crossed for the Barcelona game. Theo’s a big loss of course, and we’ll be missing him for longer, but I think we can cope now Arshavin’s starting to look focussed again.

    Oddly, the League’s not going to be affected too much by these injuries – games are quite sparse, allowing plenty of time for our big guns to recover. And besides, we’ve got a big cushion beneath us, while ManU have got some tough, tough fixtures coming up.

    Ramsey returning makes nuff sense now. If he players like him can hit the ground running, we should be able to negotiate the big matches coming up.

  513. Just back from the game and although it was not our usual sparkling performance, it was great to see the team win without playing particularly well. I thought it was a very mature, controlled and professional performance. Seeing Arsenal score from a set piece and then shut up shop was just like the old days “one nil to the Arsenal”

    It was a real shame to lose Cesc and Theo tonight – only injuries can derail us now and I will be praying hard for our boys to stay healthy until the end of the season. Come on you Gunners!

  514. Goodnight fellow Gooners, here’s a little something to really cheer you up:

  515. We should savour that league table. It’s looking pretty good right now.

  516. I thought the defence was magnificent today. Squilly played excellently and it’s bemuses me why the Kos/Squilly partnership doesn’t function as smoothly, but c’est la vie.

    There is no better player than Cesc at unlocking bus parked defences, so it’s no biggie than the dynamism of the game dropped after his sub. However, if Nasri or Jack has more time in that position, perhaps the performance wouldn’t have dipped so.

    In saying that though, our groove come back when Stoke opened themselves up. When Denny come on our midfield regained some dynamism. I think it’s because he was creating triangles: he’s get the ball, lay it off, and push forward creating an option missing for much of the game (the midfield was a little too flat prior to his appearance).

    I loved the Nasri/Arshavin keep-ball display. I loved the way we wound the clock down with our passing (something I hope to see more often), but Nasri and Arshavin had me giggling like a maniac.

    A very good game, we should all be proud of the team, every single one of the players without snide remark.

  517. Passenal, how was the atmosphere and home support? I am hoping that the Barca game also will give the support a confidence boost to get vocal behind our team. With the villains of Stoke in the house, it was a good opportunity to keep up the good atmosphere.

  518. Evil | February 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    “Just to remind you of something: until this season this place was probably the only website where you could find positive words written about Fabianski while basically every other website dealing with Arsenal slagged him off at every opportunity, calling him derogatory names and so on. “
    Nice point Evil. But you forgot to add Eboue, Song and “diabolical” Diaby to that list. Most Arsenal blogs are homes of the most ignorant, ill-informed opinions about any young foreign player who may be technically-talented but is frequently the victim of the thuggish anti-football tactics we see from the likes of Stoke and Birmingham. The viciousness of some opinions is often times not about football but is evidently based on naked xenophobia and prejudice. Only on ACLF do you see a consistent attempt to unmask the ignorance and bias of many in the Arsenal blogsphere and to support Wenger when he says he does not look at passport in selecting a player for his team.

  519. Best dive ever!

  520. Haha, stop hitting yourself!

  521. the lads did well
    well done to the squidge too..he helped keep a clean sheet and won us the game…
    unfortunate for theo..gotta feel for him, the tackle was clumbsy but it wasnt an intentional snapping..it looked like the ankle was done as they both fell and whiteheads knee landed on theos ankle
    songs looking tired.. a few misplaced passes
    but that was the key game for me..three points, and only really theo down..we’ll cope and his injury may only keep him out a week to 10 days..
    cesc will be back sunday..
    the quadruple machine rolls on

  522. Gadget- Djorou is the General in defence he seem to organise the defence better. the offside trap was immaculte against Barcelona except the slip up by Clichy that led to Villa’s goal. Djorou can play with either of them but the one that looks best is Djorou and kolcieny they are building a very good partnership. Squillaci was bought as a cover and he is doing well when needed

  523. Limestonegunner – the atmosphere was mixed tonight – the crowd seemed anxious and a little flat particularly after the goal when Arsenal seemed to slow play right down. Every shawcross touch was greeted with jeers and seemed to force a few errors from him, but after stoke came out showing their true colours in the second half, things started to get a bit lively as the crowd told, stoke, pulis, shawcross and walton, exactly what they thought of them, which was not a lot! They really are the pits and a decent referee would have kept better control of the game and dished out a few more well earned cards, which might have prevented some of the industrial strength tackles and injuries that we saw as the game progressed.

  524. big shout out to ches as well..his presence in that box is something else

  525. Cesc just tweeted this:

    “I dont know if ill make sunday or no, but all i know is that from this moment to sunday 16’30 i wont sleep if its necessary. Ive waited.

    ..Too long to captain a final for arsenal and i wont give up till the last second.”

  526. Poor Cesc, it must be killing him to think that he might not make it for Sunday and Theo has been ruled out already. I’m gutted for them both – I hope the rest of the boys can do it for them.

  527. Great words and true leadership spirit shown from our captain. I will keep my fingers crossed that he can make it as will. As somebody already mentioned it, lifting a trophy without him would simply be wrong. Probably from all our players he deserves it the most, considering how much blood and guts he has spent fighting on the pitch for the club.

  528. I still have this enduring vision of our great Spanish captain lifting a silver trophy at Wembley, a trophy with 3 handles, and on this Sunday…

  529. easy kev
    yeah i reckon he’ll be ok..

  530. Hey, hows my mate? JJ, where av ya been???

  531. You know, i’ve just had these good vibes about the Carling Cup since we smashed the Spuds at The Slum.

  532. ive been about matey..hows tricks
    ive had a good feeling all season…aint had this feeling since the invincibles..cant describe it really but yeah since we smashed the swamp dwellers earlier i thought the force was with us…
    think the force is with us in the facup too..making hard work of it like but its going to happen…

  533. Yeah, i’ve had the same feeling about the team this season, they’ve developed a harder edge to their game, i really began to notice it when they took the Chavs apart

  534. Thought Chamakh looked sharp when he came on. Just like AA, he seems, hopefully, to be coming out of his dip in form.

  535. the chav result was impressive,, made ppl take notice of us..pretty much in the same way the spurs, citeh and barca results
    even if cesc is out…
    jack and nasri can fill the creative void…like they did earlier in the season
    the main man for me is robin..as long as he finishes the season we’ll always score goals..
    AA looking sharp again also..we’ll be fine…

  536. Yeah, RVP is vital, 10 EPL goals in no time at all. A fit RVP could net 20+ EPl goals every season.

  537. You got a ticket for Wembley???

  538. of course 😉
    not missing this for the world..first time since 98….
    you got yours?

  539. Had a few feelers out, one very strong possible, probably could have got one, but in the end i decided to keep Rico company. You didn’t go to Cardiff then JJ ?

  540. Added to that, i couldn’t afford it, but you have a great day and give the boys a cheer for me, nite JJ

  541. Big ups to Squillaci, got the goal and defended like a boss!

  542. Oops meant to post this one, check this guy out

  543. Fuck me I just woke up dreaming Pubis was being stringed up in Hartlepool with Shawcross next to go under the noose.

  544. Runebreaker – Go back asleep mate and don’t you dare wake up until they have both been strung up and have stopped kicking for at least an hour!!!!

  545. “The ball didn’t drop for us”. Caveman Pulis explains Stoke’s loss & his football philosophy. Pump it in the air, hopefully it drops inside the opposition goal

  546. Heh, idiot.

    Apart from a short spell of pressure of pressure in the 2nd half, they were nowhere near us.

  547. Right, this morning’s post is up

    https://aculturedleftfoot.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/heads-we-win-arsenal-close-gap-but-at-what-cost/

    I wonder if any Stoke fans will actually understand the sarcasm in the comments today?

    YW

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