Arsenal 1 – 0 Stoke City

Good evening folks. A quick round-up of yesterday’s game and other news as the WOA team looks forward to Dev’s big 30th Birthday weekend (Happy 30th Dev!). How many times can I tell you that he’s 30 in one sentence? Just kidding Dev (Grandpa).

Condensing yesterday’s game into a small paragraph or two won’t be hard, as Stoke did what they do best, which is to convert a match of football into a boring, set piece-orientated slugfest. We started the game brightly, and could have finished them off in the first ten minutes. An early chance saw Theo Walcott through on goal, but he was unfortunate when his shot rebounded off the inside of the post and generously back into the arms of Begovic. The winning goal came just a few moments later in the 8th minute. And it came from a set piece (take note and learn, Stoke). Nicklas Bendtner did well to chest down an overshot corner and volley the ball back into the middle of the 6-yard box where Squillaci was on hand to nod it in. 1-0 to the Arsenal, and it would remain that way until the end.

Shortly after the goal Cesc had to be replaced by Arshavin with a hamstring strain. I really can’t remember anything else significant happening in the first half. The game seemed to dry up completely after Cesc went off, and Sczezsny pulled off a great diving save from a Carew shot to keep us ahead at the interval. The second half didn’t offer too much either. The best Arsenal chance came when Arshavin cut the ball back to Theo who completely miscued his shot with the goal at his mercy. I remember a similar chance in another game recently, and like then, he should have used his left foot to tuck it in.

We had some bad news moments later when Theo was stretchered off with an ankle sprain. Stoke had one decent chance from memory when Huth headed over a Stoke corner from a good position. Otherwise, for all their tedious long throws and corners, you have to say we held our own extremely well, and grounded out a vital 3 points which took us to one point off the top, with Manchester United having to play a couple of tricky away games in a few days.

It has since transpired that both Cesc and Theo will miss Sunday’s Carling Cup Final against Birmingham at Wembley, which is bad news, but I am confident we can cope without them. Birmingham worry me when I think of the prospect of playing against Zigic and Martins. However I am told that we will have our full-strength back 5 available for the game, and we are always capable of scoring goals with players like Nasri and Arshavin available. I have also read reports (albeit unconfirmed) that RVP will be back for the game too. Fingers crossed he is available, and we can only hope that Theo and Cesc come back for the Barcelona game on March 8th as they will be vital if we are to stand a chance at the Camp Nou.

So, Wembley is finally upon us, and a chance to end the trophy drought once and for all. I can’t see it being a classic encounter, but that really doesn’t matter if we end up lifting the trophy does it? A few of us will be heading to The Torch by the stadium for pre-match drinks for those who are going. Otherwise, let’s cross our fingers, legs, and all other cross-able body parts and pray that Theo and Cesc come back from injury ASAP. Come on you Gunners!

  • jat85

    Have just read a quote from AW confirming RVP, Koscielny and Diaby all available on Sunday.

  • vj

    yeah my team
    Sczezsny

    Sagna Koscielny Djourou Clichy

    Song Nasri Wilshere

    Rosicky Van Persie Arshavin

    frankly im kinda worried i just want an early goal to calm our nerves and focus on breaking their play down counter attacking, have a feeling that B52 might play for some reason, hes got 2 assists in last two games… come on arsenal

  • vj

    on another note Happy Birthday Dev

  • yemi

    Quick one, is Rambo not eligible to participate in the FA cup final ? Since he is back !!!

  • Goonerman

    @vj
    I would go with the same team as you but the only change I’d make is bendtner for rosicky! He adds height for a defensive and attacking advantage and I always think he has more chance of a goal than rosicky.

  • vj

    agreed goonerman, plus rosicky isnt very good anymore i think

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Talk sport are so anti Arsenal it is unbelievable, virtually all presenters are saying Birmingham will win even though they are the underdogs. I really hope we smash them 4-0 just to shut them up!! Morons.

  • Berth

    Goonergetya; Not just the talk sports guy. Tommy Smith of ESPN soccerpress pass shares the same views. I can only say less and look forward to the match with even more keenness.

  • Tm17

    Côme on what’s happening to this blog
    there isn’t anything, no update nothing. After
    all this time waiting for a trophy this could be
    it, and even the comment section is dead and
    in all this I am so excited that I woke up at 4 am
    waiting for the kick off !!!! Lol

  • pisssedoff

    Hm T17 – guess we are all nervoua

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Only 3 hours till kick off and I for one am getting excited. Gutted for cesc though.

  • Vazy

    @tm17 its the nervousness and everyones excited people dont stop and post as much,

    fingers crossed for a good (yet not emotionally draining) game!

    COME ON YOU GOONERS!

  • richiebacardi

    well the money I was gonna use to see more arsenal games this season I now have to use to replace the tele I just smashed!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Please tell me that didn’t just happen!! what a fucking disaster.

  • vj

    Im sorry guys i quit, i cant stand this bullshit anymore

  • Gooner Get Ya

    What a surprise, Arsenal’s defence went to pieces AGAIN!! We can learn a lot from this game though. We need decent CB’s, Rosicky needs to leave in the summer and we definately need another winger.

  • goonerman

    @gooner get ya
    i had the same opinion as you but seriously i have no doubt that kosclieney and chesney are probably hurting as much or more than we are at the moment, also look up the picture or eboue trying to comfort a crying jack wilshere that kid had his heart broken today and we need to hope that makes him stronger istead of ruining him!