Match Preview: Stoke vs Arsenal

Maybe a bit of concentration will help a little.

Okay, maybe I've got to let Wednesday night's result go and be positive, but it's a strange one when it comes to suddenly being all positive and cheering the team on when they've performed like they have against the teams such as Hull, Fulham, Sunderland and of course Sp*rs. Arsene's called for more support and says we need to believe in this team. He says the team was close last season with 83 points, but we've lost Gilberto and Flamini from our side. Players that would have kept the score at 4-2 with a minute or two to go.

Anyway, it's time to re-focus on the next game, and whilst Stoke at the Brittania will be a hard game, it is a game we should definitely win.

Stoke City v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League, Britannia Stadium
Saturday, November 01, 2008, 15:00

We travel to Stoke without William Gallas and Emmanuel Eboue who have both picked up injuries. In one way, did Arsene think, “the defence isn’t working, so let’s try Silvestre and Gallas” and that backfired and now it’s the turn of Toure and Djourou? It’s plausible! It was strange to see Silvestre in ahead of Toure considering reports hag suggested he was awesome in training and the fittest central defender in the squad.

Anyway, back to tomorrow’s game and let’s take a look at the manager’s preview.

“It looks like Gallas will be out and maybe Eboue too. We’ll assess him tomorrow.

“It is a little recurrence of the hamstring for William and for Manu it is his knee. He is not running properly at the moment. He still has pain there.”

So, the line up could well be:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Toure
Centre Back
Djourou
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Walcott
Right Wing
Song
Midfielder
Cesc
Midfielder
Diaby
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker

With Fabianski, Silvestre, Ramsey, Denilson, Nasri, Vela, Bendtner on the bench.

I think we’d line up a 4-4-2 which can turn itself into a 4-5-1 with Van Persie slotting in on the left and the Diaby playing more central. Nasri may be on the bench as Arsene opts for his away game strategy.

Whatever the formation, a win is paramount.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[For me our problems started when we started subbing players. 2 goals up against Stoke, sub players. 2 goals up in a North London derby against a team fighting for their lives with a new manager? Don't sub the players.

    Its not rocket science, yet Wenger always hovers his finger over the substitue self destruct button around 70 minutes.

    Walcott coming off for Eboue was an awful decision. Eboue has played well and is much improved but he still loses the ball far too easily. Walcotts not perfect and lost the ball himself a fair few times, but when he got it he forced Sp*rs back and made them forget about attacking for a few minutes. No one is scared of Eboue.

    Still, according to the papers today the squad had a massive argument - and I'm actually glad to see passion. People arguing shows they were bothered and upset and hopefully they'll be galvanised.

    I'm going to avoid the results and sit through match of the day on saturday - try and inject some excitment back into a still young season.

    Oh and the good news, for all of the miserable naysayers, is that I think Wenger may have realised he needs to make a purchase or two in the new year and whilst I don't believe its an absolute must it will be beneficial if he does.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[For me our problems started when we started subbing players. 2 goals up against Stoke, sub players. 2 goals up in a North London derby against a team fighting for their lives with a new manager? Don't sub the players.

    Its not rocket science, yet Wenger always hovers his finger over the substitue self destruct button around 70 minutes.

    Walcott coming off for Eboue was an awful decision. Eboue has played well and is much improved but he still loses the ball far too easily. Walcotts not perfect and lost the ball himself a fair few times, but when he got it he forced Sp*rs back and made them forget about attacking for a few minutes. No one is scared of Eboue.

    Still, according to the papers today the squad had a massive argument - and I'm actually glad to see passion. People arguing shows they were bothered and upset and hopefully they'll be galvanised.

    I'm going to avoid the results and sit through match of the day on saturday - try and inject some excitment back into a still young season.

    Oh and the good news, for all of the miserable naysayers, is that I think Wenger may have realised he needs to make a purchase or two in the new year and whilst I don't believe its an absolute must it will be beneficial if he does.]]>

  • Vinashin

    < ![CDATA[The possession is all well and good, but one supporter wants to see some desire and attitude in the current squad.

    Eight of those players could be spiteful buggers. Capable of doing needly things that would rile oppo fans. Of the other three, one was capable of conning the ref, another a master of cynicism without getting booked for it and the nice guy is still at Arsenal.

    Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott, Denilson, Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor, Van Persie.

    Too many nice guys. Lead by a psychiatric case. One is capable of extreme violence against one of his team-mates, but not opponents. Four of them have the potential steel you need to win a title. You can carry a few that don’t, but not seven. No way.

    Hull v Chelsea – I’ve read nothing about the game and seen nothing of the action. But the result tells me all I need to know. Chelsea players are paid far too much, but they are professional and will battle for a result when required. They are not prima donnas. There is no question of them being allowed to slacken just because of their superstar status. Dare I say it, but maybe they are not given the idea that they are some kind of superior beings that do not have to put in a shift to earn their corn. The lead comes from the man that picks the team.

    I hope that the penny has finally dropped for our myopic manager. Time for a change in the captaincy, and none of this diplomatic fiddlesticks by giving the armband to the goalkeeper. Fabregas is one of the few who gives a damn and a natural leader. The players respect him, and he has more maturity than the incumbent skipper. A statement needs to be made and giving Cesc the armband is a start. After that, places on form and merit rather than reputation. The manager goes on about having faith in the young squad, well let’s see more of the young ‘uns with something about them. Let’s see more of Wilshere, Ramsey and Vela to see if they are made of the right stuff.

    Armand Traore went to the Lane to watch his colleagues with the fans armed with a knuckleduster. That is the kind of mindset the players should have when representing Arsenal. Up for it and totally alert to potential danger. Heightened senses, playing out of their skins. The game lasts for 90 minutes plus injury time. It ain’t over till the final whistle even if you are playing the opposition off the park and comfortably ahead. Do not switch off.

    Forget trophies this season. 2008/09 has gone. It’s time to rebuild the spirit of the team, starting at Stoke tomorrow where this observer wants to see some personal duels well and truly won as well as the technical ability when Arsenal have the ball.

    And you know what? Five years on, of that Invincibles line-up, ten are still making a living as professional footballers. They wouldn’t have let a two goal lead against Spurs go with six minutes to play out if they’d lined up for us on Wednesday evening. And more to the point, they sometimes stank the place out with their performances, but never their attitude.

    Over to you M. Wenger…]]>

  • Ramsey08

    < ![CDATA[Let’s go back to last season. Arsenal came extremely close to winning the Premier League, and who knows if the Birmingham game had turned out differently we may well have been crowned champions.

    The problems after the Brum game were all too evident for Arsenal fans to see. We could always score a goal, but our major problem was at the back. There cannot be many teams that have taken the lead at both Stamford Bridge (post-Abramovich) and Old Trafford in the same season. Indeed the loss against Man Utd summed up our season.

    We played well, took the lead, but our defensive frailties meant we left with nothing.

    No problem, as Arsene knows after all. He identified where the problems lay in the side and we all anticipated a flurry of transfers in the summer. Unfortunately for us the main transactions over the summer were departures rather than arrivals. Flamini, Hleb, Senderos (loan) all left. OK, Nasri’s arrival made up for the loss of Hleb, but where was the centre back that we needed or the defensive midfielder we desperately required? Silvestre’s signing hardly set pulses racing and you do have to worry when we sign players no longer needed by Man Utd.

    Due to this complete failure to bring in players we are, in my opinion, struggling to hold on to fourth place. It may be highly patronising to the teams involved, but if you lose to Fulham and Hull then you are simply not going to win the league. Unfortunately we are reaping what Arsene has sowed. I know he is a genius and I’ll always believe in him, but you do have to question his wisdom over the summer. He, along with all of us, knew we had a soft centre and he has done nothing to solve this issue.

    Wednesday night was the final straw for me. It highlighted the distinct lack of guts, character, and basic defensive skills of this current side. I’m not a post-Premiership glory hunter. I remember going to school and getting teased mercifully after we lost to York in 1985. I remember a time when Tottenham fans used to take the p**s out of me when I was very young. I think what is bothering me so much is that last season we came so close and with a bit of tinkering we could well have challenged this year. Instead we have to put up with our calamitous defending from set pieces and our complete lack of urgency in closing opposing players down when they are anywhere near the edge of our box.

    Look at our current squad. I know the Invincibles were a fine team, but how many of our current team would challenge for a place in that team? Certainly not Almunia, Gallas, Toure (the 2008 version), Silvestre, Denilson, Song, Adebayor. You could make a case for Sagna, Clichy, Fabregas, and at a push van Persie, but the rest would get nowhere near in my opinion. As I say, comparing teams from different years is harsh, so turn it around and if you had to pick a team from the top 4 clubs how many of our players would be picked? Maybe the full backs again and obviously Fabregas but that’s it. If you put our centre backs up against Ferdinand, Vidic, Terry, Carvalho, Carragher, Agger and Skrtel it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture. And don’t get me started on the goalkeeper situation!

    Where do we go from here? Well, for one, I’m now going to lower my expectations and just enjoy the football we play. OK I’ll have to put up with leaking silly goals, but I’ll have the joy of watching our sublime passing game. If we can pick up a cup it will be a bonus. People keep saying that we can invest in January but what is the point in splashing the cash then if we are out of the Premiership race by then?

    Arsene doesn’t make many mistakes and I hope I look back on this one day and realise I’ve been stupid to start doubting him. Unfortunately I’ve seen this coming from the moment the transfer window closed on September 1st. It could be worse though, I could support Tottenham and celebrate a draw like we’d won the Champions League!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[i get the feeling everybody's too upset to start commenting on the preview. maybe its too early.

    kieran can we get any details on who was having the argument with whom ?

    if he does make a signing it needs to be an experienced guy. yaya toure has recently basically rejected news linking him with us in jan. but with guardiola's rotation, i dont think the matter's over yet.
    but one guy who i wana have in my team at teh moment is sylvain distin. he's french. he's experienced. he's pacy. he's got heart. he's got a humble attitude. seems he's got everything really. and i guess ol' tony wouldnt mind doing us a favor !

    btw kieran did you understand what wenger was trying to say at teh spurs post match conference ? he said something about negative passing. i thought he meant we should have done more going forward but we didnt. but what i dont get is why he then made defensive substitutions ? wats ur take on it ? apart from the obvious which is that whoever was on the pitch is an arsenal player and hence should be good enough to keep position and play proper attacking football.]]>

  • zohaib

    just want to say to Vinashin and Ramsey08. brilliant article mate. to the both of you

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Zo -

    I read about the bust up today:

    ARSENE WENGER is ready to wield the Arsenal axe following a furious dressing-room bust-up.
    Angry Gunners stars were heard shouting and arguing after Tottenham hit two late goals to seal a 4-4 draw at the Emirates on Wednesday.

    And fuming manager Wenger is set to make widespread changes for Saturday’s must-win trip to Stoke.

    An Arsenal source said: “Everyone was going crazy in the dressing room after the game. There were a lot of raised voices and fingers being pointed.

    “Everyone was blaming each other for Spurs’ two late goals and the manager was as angry as anyone has seen him for a long time.”

    Central to the argument was the lack of leadership from captain William Gallas and his central-defensive partner Mikael Silvestre.

    Left-back Gael Clichy was particularly distraught at his part in Tottenham’s third goal and questions were also asked about the way possession was surrendered in the dying seconds to allow Aaron Lennon a last-gasp equaliser.

    Wenger has been particularly alarmed by the defensive errors.

    I also sat in disbelief at Wengers comments – he did indeed make defensive substitutions (stupid substitutions) and appeared to want to run down the clock, something which the team didn’t appear to want to do. Cesc was further forward in the last 20 minutes than the rest of the match.

    All I can think, in hindsight, is that he felt he had made mistakes with his subs and was too negative and that in turn impacted the team – they certainly didn’t look like scoring despite pooring forward. Maybe he meant that they were looking forward but inneffectively? I’m not sure. I’m baffled to be honest.

    In fact thinking it through, we were punting the ball up a bit which is negative and trying wild through balls that had no chance. Maybe he wanted us to attack with possesion and incisiveness? Pass the ball up the pitch and attack steadily? I can see his thoughts then – we were hitting hopeful balls and losing possesion tooo much – we weren’t attacking or defending really we just lost it. I hope that’s what he means otherwise he’s fucking nuts!!]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Ramsey I agree with your article but - Sendoros was a nightmare of a player and I don't lament his loss for one second. Nasri is a better player than Hleb.

    The only player we've lost of any value is Flamini, and what a massive loss that turns out to be. Gilberto is also a loss, but he's a squad player not a first teamer - unfit and past his prime, his final season was a bit of a non-starter.

    One other thought - I read Djourou being rated very highly alongside thoughts that we need more experience in the back four. The two aren't compatible. Either we go with Djourou's talent and youth or we buy in experience (Gallas/Silvestre are both on their last legs).

    Ironically, Gallas is the first team captain I've not liked for years. Seaman never deserved it (however shortlived) because of his shit hair.... but Gallas just doesn't play like a captain.]]>

  • Ramsey08

    < ![CDATA[we have to win this sat-simple as-
    chelski and manure will win just by turning up wheras we'll have to play like its a final]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[lol thanks mate.

    so tom's the match then. cant wait to see wat happens. wonder which team will turn up tom.

    my starting lineup would look something like this

    almunia

    sagna toure djourou clichy

    walcott cesc denilson nasri

    vela adebayor

    walcott, nasri, vela and diaby could be shuffled around in any order in the positions i'v put them in. either vela to start in a 4 4 2 or diaby to start in a 4 5 1.
    van persie's played his heart out. he can be given a break. so could ade but then wenger should go for bendtner and vela in a 4 4 2 as thats how theyr most effective together.

    i think all this talk of wielding the axe is bullcrap cuz we have fehnerbahce coming up and if anyone finds himself out of the team it might be to rest them ahead of the champs league match. so i'm expecting vanpersie and possibly ade to get a bit of a rest. i duno if he'll start with them and take them off at 60 or 70. or whether he'll let bendtner and vela start and bring one or both of ade n van off after 60 or 70 but the latter option seems more feasible.]]>

  • devday

    Don’t forget – we have Man United next Sat!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[yikes. good point bro !

    i say we give vela 2 matches. a 90 min and a 60 min. and then unleash the star against manutd to stun them senseless !!]]>

  • devday

    I do rate Vela no doubt, but definitely think VP had one of his better games on Sunday. But what’s the point of having Vela if we’re not going to use him? With VP not 100% fit yet, it does make sense to play Vela against Stoke. Maybe Bendtner and VP against Fener on Weds then?

  • Maxi

    < ![CDATA[Gunners 4 life. Why are u all loosing fate in our darling team. We should be patient the league is still nascent and we still ve a whole lot to play for.

    Dan cud u pls instill calmness to these unbelivers. If the team can close ther ranks and beat Manu and Chelsea (unlikely but possible) we culd still salvage the league.

    The best we fans can do for the club is the support the team more, be behind them. It will make them feel ashamed and thus be forced to work harder. I belief, hope u all do.]]>

  • Debs

    don’t worry maxi. we still love the team. just the fact that sometimes it can be frustrating. But yeah, Gunners for life! No doubt!

  • Maxi

    < ![CDATA[Yeh I like that. The gunner spirit should remain amongst us. Lets do this thing as a family. Just belief guys, Belief.

    Kieren u must agree with me I guess.]]>

  • Debs

    hey anyone watching the Fenerbahce match at the Emirates on weds?

  • Arif aka RF

    < ![CDATA[Kiren & Vinashin - Top Article
    Really got me even more frustrated On Gallas ! but then , hes there under da Red & White - Hope he cud rip it da style we beggin for.

    Zohaib Ma Bro (thx fa da bunch) - I thout m de only 1 to c sylvain distin in our team.

    Maxi -- Thanks a lot for the Stress bursting Bit !

    Pires to Henry - Henry to Bergkamp - Bergkamp to Henry and thats a GOAL !! (Rememba it hardly took 5 secs)

    M worried only fa our defence. Hope things get back well to da winning ways..and i'll leave you with da Upshot ..
    Fabregas to Walcott - Walcott(Great Run) to Ade - Ade to Van Persie -- Now dats a Bloody GOAL !!

    GUNNER 4EVA !!
    >>RESPECT !]]>

  • zaheer

    heyy just out of curiosity how much does it cost to go to a game at the emirates?? I know it will differ depending on each game given seating and such… btw.. i live in Australia but i plan to go to europe at some point in the near future… GUNNER PRIDEEE

  • debs

    Hi Zaheer. It depends on the competition… Carling cup’s the cheapest- about £10-20. Champions league tickets start from £39 and its sort of the same for the pl- although I think matches against the others in the top 4 are much more expensive. It will also depend on whether you want to sit on the lower or upper tier… But I guess its not too too expensive…