Stoke vs Arsenal: The Preview

Today is a big, big game, no question about it.

Stoke have continuously caused problems for us in the last couple of years and their physical Boltonesque approach mixed in with a bit more steel and the now famous Rory Delap throw seems to be a big issue for us. We lost there last year and again this year, albeit with not our strongest team, and today we face are nemesis again.

We’ve been undone with the long throws, we’ve been undone with the crosses into the box and the muscular / physical presence of the Stoke forward line, but they’ve not come up against Gallas and Vermaelen yet and today they won’t either as it was confirmed that Gallas would miss the tie later today. Sol Campbell is set to deputise and he will play alongside Vermaelen at the back. The rest of the team news sees Arshavin and Diaby both still out.

The team, based on the absentees should be:

Almunia

Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy

Ramsey – Song

Walcott – Cesc – Nasri

Bendtner

With Rosicky, Eboue and Eduardo also available, the gaffer does have some options.

Arsene had his usual press conference yesterday and took time to talk about Stoke’s strength’s at both long throw in’s and set pieces in general, saying:

“His throws are dangerous because they are horizontal. So if anybody deflects the ball, you have no time to get it back. The ball comes like an arrow. It doesn’t come like a usual kick of the ball. It comes flat. You cannot really get in front of the striker but if one of them touches the ball it’s difficult to defend. However Stoke are good on set-pieces generally so I wouldn’t instruct my players to kick it out for a corner rather than a throw-in. We do not go for that. The problem is, with Delap, it is a corner already.”

With United not playing this week, and Chelsea play a tough game in Man City – with Carlos Tevez, we have every chance to close the gap.

“For us, we know that, no matter how Stoke plays, our solution on the day is to be efficient and to win the game. All the players are highly focused on this game because they know it’s a tricky one. But we know as well that, for us to have a chance to compete at the top – there is no choice.”

The game kicks off tonight at 5.30pm, so by then we’ll know the results of the early kick off at Stamford Bridge – remember, Chelsea have just come back from a gruelling tie at Inter Milan, so they will also be tired, despite Man City’s extra time outing against our opponents Stoke, in mid-week.

It’s going to be an interesting day of football, stay tuned…

  • yemi

    i hope and pray we take all 3 points cos i have a feeling chelea will drop at least 2 points. i also think the boss should play eboue ahead of theo for this one and we should be 2 goals ahead at half time. scoreline prediction: stoke 1:3 ars

  • Josiah

    we win, city win, makes us 2 points behind united, 3 points behind chelsea, everybody has played 28 games. This is what we need. Come on.

  • Sam

    I’d go for Eboue too. He’s better at defending from set pieces & showed in last game that he’s more settled than Theo.
    Go Gunners, Go!
    BTW, Go City too. Get some points off Chelsea.

  • richiebacardi

    Well well what do you know Chelski loosing and now down to 9 men!!!!

  • Sam

    Happy day!
    Chelsea 2 – 4 ManC.

    Things moving our direction quite nicely. Now 3 points for Gunners.

  • Kuka

    The title has our name written all over it. Do not tell me about Stoke. You cannot explain how results of other teams keep going in our favor. You must love it..

  • yemi

    we should hv enuff motivation to take all 3 points with chelsea losing. go gooners !

  • manoo

    COME ON THE ARSENAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zegooner

    AND THE ARSENAL DRAW LEVEL!!!

  • manoo

    Ramsey is giving the ball away a lot, nasri looks lazy. Sagna looked clumsy. bad start, delaps shity throw in found pugh via a deflection after 7 mins. bentner got us bak in it after half an hour. After a bad start, we were looking likely to get a 2nd by half time. we didnt, but we shud get a win in the 2nd half if we concentrate at the bak, and keep attackin. 1 thing ive noticed is that were not playin at the bak but givin it to almunia to smash forward-maybe to avoid mistake-maybe nothing.COME ON THE ARSENAL!!!!!!

  • manoo

    eboue is runnin the game AGAIN!!!!! we need more from nasri and ramsey

  • manoo

    song will miss next 2 games thanks 2 a bollocks decision from the ref

  • manoo

    RAMSEYS GOT A BROKEN LEG- eduardo de ja vu. shawcross off. vermaelen looks like hes gona puke. hes out for a long time. lets hope we dont play like after eddys injury. Heads up lads. their down 2 10, lets get the 3 points. well worry about the injury as soon as weve won the game. CMON ARSENAL!!!! DIRTY STOKE

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Ramsey broken leg is grim

  • richiebacardi

    My blood is crawling. That is a nasty nasty break.

  • Sam

    Rambo off with ambulance, hope it’s not as serious as it looks.
    If they had banned the thug that injured eduardo for a year, other thugs wouldn’t instruct brutality as half time team talk.

  • richiebacardi

    I hope and pray it’s not a career Enders. Come on boys let’s win it for him!

  • Zegooner

    that was horrid.

  • manoo

    walcott on for eboue

  • Sam

    1-3.
    Thank you Gunners! Verminator is the best.

  • Sam

    Best wishes for Rambo.

  • Arsenal

    Arsenal arsenal arsenal !!!!!!!1

  • Vazy

    awful news about rambo! i hope its not as bad as it looked!! brilliant result tho

  • vitus

    those shitty football sides who cannot play decent injuring opposite players instead((((
    I love Arsenal)))))))
    my prayer go for Aaron

  • Jeffvip

    from the picture it looks really really bad. I really mean it. It looks a lot more worse than Eduardo injury. Hope Aaron recover well…

    Is there anything FA can do to prevent this happened again? I cannot imagine if this happened to Fabregas next time. Arsenal will simply strip naked by those dirty player

  • richiebacardi

    Get well soon Rambo!

  • tom G

    all thoughts with Aaron. great win in the circumstances. C’mon Arsenal.

  • richiebacardi

    On another note, I was quietly impressed with Big Sol’s control of our defence!

    I’m really trying to say something positive but can’t stop thinking of that leg. I can stomach absolutely anything except broken bones. Even a broken little finger freaks me out.

    Hope the rest of the team will recover from the shock. We saw it. I bet they heard it too! Yeech!

  • yemi

    not another broken leg! lets all say a prayer for rambo, thats our next fabregas! it took all shine away from the win. get well soon ramsey

  • Pete

    Absolutely gutted for Ramsey. Hate seeing these things happen in general, but to have one of your own players, and a youngster on top of that, makes you feel for him more. Thoughts and prayers go out to the lad.

    Reminds me of two similar injuries that happened to Djibril Cisse, and he managed to come back from them well, so here’s hoping Rambo recovers well.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    To be fair to shawcross he was in bits when he saw what he has done. There was no intent, just a bad mistimed tackle. Sol was going mental after it happened, thought he had a cracking game. Get well soon Rambo.

  • AmriGooner

    Although it was a great result but I can’t be fully happy after what happened to Ramsey I just can’t. I hope he recovers from that well.

  • JDD

    back in the fxckin race.but at a cost.GET WELL SOON RAMSEY.

  • zizou

    get well soon Aaron…….

  • goonerman

    i agree with gooner get ya! i dont think we should slate shawcross because he walked off the pitch in tears knowing what he had done and he is just a young lad himself! i hopefully medical people do a good job in the next few hours and he can start the long road to recovery! on a good note that was amazing team spirit and the captain does deserve a shout out with a goal and 2 assists! i hope this injury brings the team together unlinke after the eddy break!!

  • tom G

    still feeling really affected by the injury today. so gutted for the lad. but can I just put a shout out to Glenn Whelan? Thought he did a great job, comforting Aaron. Can’t have been easy, but he just stayed with him. Anyway.
    WE’RE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE.

  • JAT

    What happens to people convicted of manslaughter? They don’t intend to kill their victims but their recklessness puts them in jail. is a three match ban a worthy equivalent? think about it…

    All the best Aaron. Yet another victim, and the surgeons await the next arsenal player to fall under an ‘innocent’ challenge…

  • andrew

    i’m shocked and gutted!!! i didn’t know who went down at first and was hoping it wasn’t cesc. i was seriously horrified when i saw it was our 19 year old rising star!

    i had just told a mate in the pub that if fabregas has to be sold at some point ramsey will be the next midfield general. wow, can’t believe this happened.

    on top of it, song must miss games due to a bogus yellow card. i still don’t know how the ref called that? not even a tackle?

    so relieved to pull 3 points after chelsea faltered. (their keeper looked at sixes and sevens) maybe we can push on and win the league for ramsey. i pray he recovers.

  • Leeroy.N2

    My thoughts and prayers go to Ramsey and his family. I wish him well and for a speedy recovery. Although our win was over shadowed by the incident. I’m glad we were able to all fight on and be strong enough for the win. The players deserve alot of credit getting through that game and showing maturity to not let what happened control them or let their emotions over boil.
    Well done Gunners!!