Stoke vs Arsenal – FA Cup Preview

So it’s the weekend again and that means more football, this time in the form of a tricky FA Cup tie away at Stoke.

It almost makes a nice change after two consecutive games against Bolton, although I’d expect to see a very similar opposition. We all know that Stoke don’t play the greatest football, and rather like Bolton, they like to hoof the ball up-field and play a physical game. Whatever team Wenger puts out will have to be up for this and get stuck in as much as possible.

With the upcoming run of games, I’ve no doubt that there will be changes. Diaby is the latest player to be added to our ever growing injury list after the match on Wednesday. He picked up a calf injury and will miss both the Stoke and Villa games at a minimum. Bacary Sagna is another player who will definitely not be playing on Sunday. With Eboue away on international duty in Angola Wenger has chosen to rest the full back who has looked fairly jaded recently.

As a result, I’d expect to see a host of changes, and a lot of youngsters given a chance. Here’s what Wenger has had to say on the squad:

“We have called up Kyle Bartley, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Francis Coquelin, Gilles Sunu, and Craig Eastmond.

“Sol will be OK to play [after regaining fitness] but, right now, I don’t know if I play him. However it is a big opportunity for him if he does.”

Based on this, here is my predicted line up:


Eastmond – Silvestre – Campbell – Traore

Coquelin – Denilson

Walcott – Wilshere – Vela


We could see Emmanuel-Thomas play in the midfield 3 with Vela up top to give the midfield a bit more bite. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Wenger decides to do. I think Rosicky may also get a place in the squad, he’s been doing well recently and would be a great option to bring on if things aren’t going our way.

Whatever team is put out, it will be a very tough, physical challenge for them, but one that I believe we can win. Campbell at the back (should he play) adds a great deal of height and strength to the team, and as long as the rest of the team play the passing, flowing football we all know and love, we should be in the pot for the 5th Round Draw.

With United and Liverpool already out of the competition, it’s a great chance to win something. I’m sure all the players will know that and Wenger will too. So let’s hope we put in a good performance and kick off and extremely important couple of weeks with a win!

  • devday

    Awesome post Will!

    A little scary to see such a weak squad – if we do play this team, it will be very hard to win! Of course, Stoke will be playing their strongest team.

    Senderos has moved to Everton on loan. We will see how he fairs. Now that we have Sol, it’s actually financially in our favour!

  • devday

    Man Utd v Hull
    Rio Ferdinand makes his first Man Utd start in three months after struggling with a long-term back injury. He partners Jonny Evans in central defence, while Michael Owen makes his fifth league start up front, alongside Wayne Rooney.
    Hull include former United defender Paul McShane in their line-up.

  • Debs

    Wow! I didn’t actually realise the post wasn’t by you, Dev. Good stuff, Will! :)

  • ny

    do you think we would survive in the midfield battle with this team? Stoke is a brother of Bolton and it will be a tough physical game.

  • Francis

    i saw rio ferdinand slap a hull player across the face …i’m waiting for the media to pick it up and turn it into a storm as happened to gallas…ha !!! i guess i’ll be waiting forever…right?

  • Francis

    yeah the midfield looks understrength and light weight to me…maybe kyle bartley may be thrown in around the middle to help shore things up…though i dont how mobile he is and if he is ever played in the middle.

    what about sanchez-watt he is probably more committed and has more power and pace to his game than vela (i do not have anything against vela but he needs to toughen up…probably has got as good a technique as any top striker in the world)

    vela might need a big body to play alongside to be effective. we will see how wenger shuffles his cards…

    sp*rs almost got mugged #####

    all in all a good post…thanx Will

  • bade the gooner

    Imagine the coming line-up for the Stoke game:

    Nasri-Bendtner-Van Persie

    We would surely be cruising to the win. But all of those above (except the goalkeeper) are absent (due to injuries & Song & Eboue due to ACN) … although that means we have a wide squad, still now we are down to the bare bones …

    Meanwhile we have to shuffle for the stoke cause we really cant risk 1st team players having almost no super-subs to use … very interesting giving that couple of our youngsters are out on loan (Simpson, Gilbert, Randall, Lansbury, Murphy …)

    Eastmond-Campbell-Senderos(he’s leaving anyway)-Clichy

    Subs: Mannone, Fabregas, Rosicky, Traore, Arshavin, Watt/Sunu, Vermaelen

    I predict another hard fought win, 2-1 with JET & either Walcott or Vela to secure the win.

    The big guns could be held as subs if needed, as it was against West Ham, although Aw shouldn’t risk nobody unless it is so much needed

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    we need to win

  • JDD

    looks like fabregas is going to play he has apparently asked wenger to play him.i think the line-up will be

    silvestre campbell vermaelen clichy
    fabregas eastmond wilshere
    vela emmanuel-thomas walcott

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    yes JDD i feel more comfortable with that line up :) i hope it is something like that.

  • Will Scott

    Starting XI:

    Coquelin – Campbell – Silvestre – Traore
    Eastmond – Cesc – Denilson
    Walcott – JET – Vela

    Subs: Mannone, Eduardo, Ramsey, Rosicky, Arshavin, Frimpong, Bartley

  • manoo

    I didnt really want cesc 2 play in this game. We got a really tought set of fixtures in the league as youll know,its a bit of a risk. SHudve gone with one of the younger lads or rosicky.

  • Josiah

    I think he asked to play, so maybe he is just in a good run of form and wants to keep it up.

  • manoo

    thomas looking sharp unlike vela and coquilin. Getin better after a bad start. Cmon the arsenal

  • devday

    Wow, just checking in and just seen the team and the score!
    Interesting line up – fingers crossed, we can come back!

  • devday

    I’d have preferred coquelin in a DM position, JET in midfield, Vela and Walcott on either side of a striker – hey ho, we can’t always get what we want!

  • devday

    Wohoooo, Denilson equalises….. 1-1…. A couple of deflections and in!!

  • arseneKnows

    1. That was as bad as i’ve see us play.
    2. Because of our bench – I can’t see us loosing this.
    3. Campbell is doing just fine.
    4. Very disappointed that Fabianski didn’t deal with that Stoke goal.
    5. JET get’s in great positions but needs to really concentrate on his passing.
    6. I want soooo much more from Vela – I want him to die for the cause – but without actually dieing!

    But we’ll win!

    Big up to the Arsenal massive

  • manoo

    walcott has been awful. hes 2 inconsistent wen he does play. Yes hes come bak from injury but cmon walcott. ur beter than this. Same with vela.
    Traore has improved since the 1st bolton game.

  • Sam

    Rambo’s back! Yehhhh!

  • Will Scott

    Neither manager want’s a replay here, the game is becoming very stretched. Looks like it could be a next goal wins kind of game.

    Cesc’s getting 90 minutes, here comes Arshavin, Eduardo and Ramsey… of goes JET, Coquelin and Theo, with Eastmond dropping to right back.

  • Sam

    Why don’t we ever have a player at the far post on corner kicks?

  • Sam

    Before anyone else says it, let’s focus on EPL & Champions lg!
    I hope with a better team…

  • Shawn

    terrible terrible terrible.

  • arseneKnows

    Too right – for goodness sake let not pull 2 back!!!

  • arseneKnows

    It would have been tough with our first team – but we would have won – you have to pick your fights and we were a bit unlucky to draw a Stoke away at this point!

    So happy that Ramsey is back!

    We get over this by about 7pm this eve – sod it!

    Big up the Arsenal!

  • Sam

    The upcoming games (AV, ManU, Chelski, Liverpool) are now so very critical. Lose & we’re all OUT.

  • arseneKnows

    So Ramsey returned in about a week!! That’s the fastest 21 days ever recorded – let’s hope the same sort of ‘bending’ of the laws of time will apply to Nasri!!

    Ramsey back – come on!
    Traore – Shakey!
    Vela – disappointing!
    Walcott – (Let’s say, he an’t ready!)
    JET – not too shabby! – frankly i’d have him on the bench rather than Vela for matches.
    Campbell – did totally fine.

  • Josiah

    EPL and Champions League, i’m asking questions?

  • olutoni

    I wouldn’t have expected anything better. especially with the squad against a physical Stoke. Wenger got it all wrong and he needs to accept that. I understand the next few games are very decisive to the Premier league title but I don’t think taking a gamble for a knockout stage match and against a Stoke side @ home is a wise one. The same story goes.. 2 down, 2 to go. Lets hope we win something…. I so much believe we can win the Premier League. CL… I cant put my money on it but its a possibility. Gunner for Life ….no matter what

  • arseneKnows

    What are your questions dude?

  • arseneKnows

    JOSIAH! What are your questions dude?

  • zizou

    it was a nightmare!I didn’t see “the arsenal” at all…hope the team will forget this match at the earliest and would focus on the matches ahead…

  • Josiah

    will we always be the team who always play nice attractive football and never win anything, thats what i wanna know!?

  • john


    AW is to blame, if he thinks we dont have to bother with the cups he is a fool. I never thought I would say it but maybe it is time he went. We are not good enough to win the league or CL, so another year with no trophies. In 3 weeks time any thought of the league will be over and CL will not be far behind. Its about time we became realistic about were we are.

  • Arseneknows

    John you are a total fool I’m afraid to say – there
    are always supporters like you who leap to
    the manager throat as soon as there are any
    ‘problems’ – I don’t think you are a supporter at all
    it’s the wrong word because you are far too
    If we put out our best team and had three injuries
    then everyone would say we’ve blown our chances
    in the Prem – don’t you get it!
    You are simply not ambitious enough!
    The Hammers sound like the team for you –

    John is a Hammers fan everyone!!

    And John we knocked your lot out in the
    previous round!

    Up the Arsenal
    be bold in your support everyone…………..not like John

  • Jeffo

    @John complete and utter nonsense, if people want to come on and say Wenger should go at least state who you think should replace him.

    We weren’t good enough today if the squad wasn’t down to the bones how many of todays starting 11 would have got on the pitch? I’m guessing three maybe four.

    Credit to stoke they played to their strengths and got a result, Fabianski was like a thunderbird piuppet with the strings cut flapping around at times.

    We look forward and not back does anyone think that manyoo fans were calling for Taggart’s head when Leeds shoved them out of the cup?

  • mesol

    Yes, AW to be blame..terrible choices of player..miss another cup..please we need a pure striker who can score

  • Mehedi

    @John You Fu908king Piece of Shi908T.

    If anyone who should go it’s you!

    Fu90K You

  • Mehedi

    And Mesol Too

  • Mehedi

    I was kind of hoping that we lose

    I better fight for the prem until the last day than win fa. curling. and all that

  • mesol

    Wenger is not everything for Arsenal..let say if he die today, so Arsenal will be dead too? What the stupid supporters of wenger..Wenger is Wenger..Arsenal is Arsenal..The Club is to be support not the manager..Is Burnley supporters also join his former manager to Bolton? Think with brain guys!

  • mesol

    Stupid Mehedi..pure MORON

  • Mehedi

    Yeah but, you should put your faith in wenger for what he done If you can’t thank him every day

    That’s what at least we can do

  • Mehedi

    Don’t forget with the money we spent, it’s only for wenger we are still in the race

    And talking about my love for ARSENAL

    I can’t put it into words I just can’t

    I wake up with a thoughts of ARSENAL

    I go to sleep with a thoughts of ARSENAL

  • Sam

    Come on guys… Losing is a part of any team. We support Arsenal through thick & thin. We love Arsenal win, draw or lose.
    Let’s not get on each other’s throat, we’re a family. We win together, we go down together.
    I too feel we may have nothing to fight for in 3 weeks.. BUT, that doesn’t take away from my love for Gunners.

  • mesol

    I just want he find a good striker who can really score..dont just hoping Fabregas,vermaelun to score..dont be so stingy to buy a player..and dont just buy a young player..this is EPL…not a secondary school tournament

  • Mehedi

    It’s Because I love arsenal

    That’s why I try my best to support Wenger

    BTW @ I too, think we need a striker.

  • Mehedi




  • tyoung

    I only saw the second half. We lost it on the wings and defensively in mid field. Will Clichy and Sagna be fit and ready for the upcoming EPL games? What about the holding midfielf position? What about the holding midfied position?
    With Song away(when is he back?) and Diaby injured Easmond/Denilson are just not good enough. In particular we need better options in this position.

  • Sam

    Chelsea get Cardiff, yet again an easy opponent! At home too.

  • goonerman

    chelsea are just the luckiest team i know they have had the easiest run of all and if we had got through today we would be playing man city in the next round lol its just a joke! we neeed to concentrate on the premier league and dont let this game put doubt in our mind becuase that team is DEFINATLEY not going to bbe playing in the next couple weeks ay! i think the gooners especially cesc he looked possesed when we were loosing, they are gonna be up for the league and i seriously hope we get some luck in the big games coming up!!

  • Will Scott

    Not happy about the result today but there’s no chance Wenger should be up for the chop.

    If in 3 weeks time we have 12 points from a possible 12, or even 9, I for one will be delighted and will have completely forgotten about today’s result.

    Sagna, Clichy, Vermaelen and Gallas will all be back on Wednesday for the game at Villa, I’d expect Arshavin, Eduardo and Ramsey to all start too.

    Let’s not dwell on this result but move on and get behind the team for the biggest fortnight of the season!

  • Will Scott

    Interesting stat…

    The last time Arsenal exited the FA Cup in the fourth round (05-06), they reached the Champions League Final. Priorities?

    Courtesy of

  • john

    A dose of reality is needed.

    We are not good enough to win the league, we have a chance in CL games on the night and all that, but we wont win it.

    Priorities? what does that mean, I remember great FA cup games and finals and that was disrespectful to Stoke and Arsenal.

    Come and have a go, but dont be blind.