Am I the only Arsenal fan who isn’t scared of Stoke?

It’s a huge game for us today at Stoke. Absolutely huge.

The Carling Cup final means Manchester United have a week off league action, while Chelsea face a tough lunch-time visit from Manchester City. It’s an opportunity to gain more ground, for sure.

What has surprised me are the number of Arsenal fans are extremely cautious, even worried, about our ability to go and beat stoke at the Britannica. To be perfectly frank, I’m not one of them.

There’s no denying that the last two games we have played Stoke have ended in defeats, 3-1 a couple of weeks ago in the FA Cup and a shabby 2-1 loss at the start of the previous campaign. But many people seem to be ignoring the quality of the team we will be putting out tonight. William Gallas, Andrey Arshavin and Abou Diaby are still out but our first eleven will be excellent.

Manuel Almunia will sit behind a defence of Bacary Sagna, Sol Campbell, Thomas Vermalaen and Gael Clichy. Emmanuel Eboue may get a game on the right after his impressive performance at Sunderland, however I think the manager would be wise to stick with the better defender and reintroduce Sagna. Campbell will provide much-needed in the physicality and with Vermaelen alongside we will have the height and power to deal with set-pieces.

The midfield three will be Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and (hopefully) Aaron Ramsey. All three are good users of the ball and have the aggression and physicality to win the battle in the centre of the park. I feel that Ramsey’s inclusion would be a huge advantage over playing Denilson, allowing us an alternate creative outlet if/when Cesc gets targeted as well as a superior physical presence.

Nicklas Bendtner will surely lead the line and in my opinion will be supported by Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott. Rosicky looks the winger most likely to get us a goal in Arshavin’s absence, while Walcott’s pace will ensure Stoke are stretched at the back in an attempt to turn this into an attacking game. If Walcott puts in a performance as energetic as he did against Sunderland, it will help the team immeasurably.

Other options, meanwhile, come from Samir Nasri, Carlos Vela and the returning Eduardo.

The team above includes just three of the players that started in the FA Cup loss to Stoke a month ago. Frankly, it shouldn’t be used an example of why we might struggle today. I mean, Francois Coquelin was playing at right-back and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas as a striker, for goodness’ sake.

My personal feeling is that we are going to win and win well today.

It’s not that I think it won’t be difficult, just that our team is full of quality and has a full week off, meaning we will be extremely fresh. Games like this tend to be decided more on the application put in by the team: if we apply ourselves well today then the quality should shine through.

I might sound a bit cocky but I assure you I’m not. I just think we will win today.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal v Stoke by leaving a comment.

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50 Responses to “Am I the only Arsenal fan who isn’t scared of Stoke?”

  1. Fabgooner
    February 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Not only will we win, we’ll win by 4-5 goals today 😀

    Nasri will start instead of either of Rosicky or Walcott IMO.

  2. billi
    February 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    I can’t judge the teams if they are difficult to play or not, if they are dangerous or not, I just feel it is time that Arsenal have a match where they can win comfortably, I mean without frightening and shivering about the victory, I feel this is quite a long time ago…………. 😉

  3. ALGunner
    February 27, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Stoke city game will not be an game like that was as easy as against sunderland. But if you are in arsenal you are bound to win this kind games by any means i mean it. I don’t think arsenal player should think that this is going to be an big game and they should treat the other 10 games as well as this games against stoke. In this what we can do is remove the extra pressure of winning the title. AW should deploy some simple tactics against Stoke 1) just ask bendy to stand and should jump and wave hand up and down all the way in front of Delap throw in (This is only source through which this team can score) This will distract delap
    2) Leave Walcoot and Fabregas in the middle of the field in every set piece this will surely reduce the number of stoke city player in the box
    3) Most important one this game is made for Bendy and Song. Some come on Bendy and Song show us. I would just beg Bendy to win this game for us. Come on Bendy

  4. Rian Joubert
    February 27, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    I think it will be a victory Andy but I can see Stoke playing a hard game with heavy tackles to disrupt us

  5. bloop
    February 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    A hiding has been long time coming..4-0 to the gunners!! Theo to get a goal today!! That has been long time coming too..

  6. Temmie 9ja
    February 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    If only the team could relax when in pocession,hold d ball n not be in a rush to attack n lose pocession unless its a counter.This should frustrate stoke.This is the time we need Bendy n his height for Delaps throws. I believe we can do it,common arsenal,show them what we’ve got

  7. iain
    February 27, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    whilst i love the fact that our wonderful team engenders international support and affection from all over the globe-it is however eternally frustrating that fans who have little or no use of english leave posts on english blog sites. I would at no time leave a post on a rwandan or rumainian football site as my utterences would be unintelligle garbage so thus wonder why people who cannot converse in english choose to become embroiled in the social media experience on an english language site- all it does is make them sound incredibly stupid- which I am sure, for the most part, they are not.

  8. Hey Nonny Mouse
    February 27, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    I think you got your team selection spot on, Andrew. Walcott to start. If Stoke do have tired legs after their Weds game the last thing they’ll want to see is Theo starting. Even if he doesn’t score he can run them ragged for an hour then Nasri can come on and do the damage when they’re knackered. Super Sol commanding the defence. Sagna told to stay back and concentrate purely on defending – his forays up field are a waste of time anyway at the moment Ramsey backing up Fab and putting the boot into Stoke players who try to noble him. Rocky’s not afraid to have a crack from outside the area and Bendtner over Eduardo purely for height reasons. I think he’s the only outfield player over six foot we’ve got at the moment. Eboue, Eduardo and Nasri on the bench – all of whom should see action at some point. Most of all the players must understand that if they do not get stuck in right from the off and and be prepared to shed blood then they can kiss the title goodbye because Stoke on any given day will spot weakness in the opposition and go for the jugular. I’m afraid I do believe we’ll concede so we’ll have to score at least 2 and probably 3. We can do it – if we try. But it ain’t gonna be a walk in the park.

  9. Moriaso wa Kenya
    February 27, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    No u aint alone. I am absolutely not afraid of ’em…i however dont think we will win with a bid margin as such.

  10. Riz
    February 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Hello
    I really really hope that u r right and we will win today.Hounestly we should win this game but the problem is that long throw in ,it been tlaked about so much and Im afraid that whenever they a have a throw in the arsenal players will panic,and if they get the first goal so I´m not so sure if we can come back.
    What worries me is that,before the game last season they asked AW if arsenal is ready for that throw in abd he said `oofcourse´ and they were NOT,and they conceded a similar goal even this season so…We just can hope…

  11. Sola Bamigboye - From Naija
    February 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    me thinks its time 4 AW & d crew to roll out d tanks on stoke. yeah, they could be tricky but i am not afraid of dem @ all. expect d tackles to come but i dont know if u guys have seen or noticed that AW boys ve added some steel to dia play and wl support a Ramsey in d middle alongside the Cappone himself & Song.
    lets stroll over stoke, boys!!

  12. Danish gooner
    February 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    No I’m not afraid of Stoke but concerned if we can do what is needed and should be expected: A comfortable win, outclassing Stoke – a match where long balls or throw in’s from the opponent will have no impact on our defense whatsoever

  13. RipRoarinRed
    February 27, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    I love Iain’s complaint about the standard of English on this site. He might be interested to know that ‘English’ and ‘I’ are both written with capital letters in English (as, I presume, is Iain.) I’m also happy to give him a lesson in the basics of English punctuation, should he so wish.

  14. georgetown gooner
    February 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    its of paramount importance we stand up to the physical battle today,we could have done with the height of gallas and diaby on set pieces hopefully big sol and tv5 will deal with their aerial threat. fawlty needs to command his area yes i know communication isn,t his strong point,clichy needs to show us the kind of performance that we,ve come to expect from him not the clownish type he,s displayed of late,ramsey,song,fab in the middle,tr7 on the left,b52 down the middle and…..THEO on the right, i,ve seen glimpses of the old theo lately so wenger needs to give him a run in the side provided he doesn,t get injured AGAIN. sick and tired of seeing us go to stoke and surrendering meekly,lacking a physical edge and repeating the same mistakes so come on ARSENAL do us proud win the battle and you win the game…simples!

  15. Senior Citizen
    February 27, 2010 at 11:48 pm #

    I have earlier said I am not worried of the game against stoke in anyway. Well I am commenting when the match is abt to kick off.
    Let’s wait and see what the game will bring for us. Of course on thing is certain, it is either a shame or glory.

  16. Leftcoastgooner
    February 28, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    Who’s scared of Stoke?
    It’s our goalkeeping that frightens me.
    FYI 77min. Tevez penalty 1-3 ManC

  17. killa Gunner
    February 28, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    Ha ha! Chelsea is losing 3-1! and they have 2 red cards!
    go gunners

  18. killa Gunner
    February 28, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    4-1 City !!!

  19. greg
    February 28, 2010 at 1:56 am #

    we have a better team than stoke by far! why be afraid of of them? we just got to remain focus defend well & take the game to stoke! come on u gunners!!!!!!!

  20. Avik
    February 28, 2010 at 2:22 am #

    I was watching the chelsea vs man city game with my dad and we were both jumping up and down with joy for the entire 2nd half. Bellamy scored 2 & Tevez scored 2 & got ballack sent off with a 2nd yellow card. It was a splendid clash of the billionaires and it just wasn’t chelsea’s day when belletti got sent off. Chelsea has got several defensive problems right now and the replacement for Cech is absolutely horrible. If we win today’s match, we will just be 3 points off from the league leaders and after seeing Chelsea’s performance today, I can swear on my life that they will drop more points in march. But Arsenal needs to push the Goal Difference meter forward just in case points get tied up at the end of the season. After our recent drought of goals, we are lagging behind Chelsea and ManU with -6 & -8 GD respectively.

  21. Geocross
    February 28, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    This is a massive oportunity to be even closer to the top!!!! no excuses!!! we must win against Stoke no matter what!!!

  22. shambogunner
    February 28, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    22 mins in,1-0 to a goal from??????surprise surprise a delap throw.
    we dont look like a team that shud be chomping at the bit after chelseas defeat,instead WE look like the team that played 120 mins wed nite
    25mins now and wev just had our first shot,cesc from 30 yards
    nasri hasnt touched the ball and eboue is playin as our right forward…..i dunno anymore.que 64 mins of huffing and puffing and wenger and rice rocking to and fro on the line with no ideas between the 2 of them…….nice predictions fellas

  23. shambogunner
    February 28, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    wot a header by bendy….we never score goals like that…..hav to push on now
    get stuck into these mullickers

  24. shambogunner
    February 28, 2010 at 4:57 am #

    jesus christ,not again…..

  25. cmoney_guns
    February 28, 2010 at 5:01 am #

    does anyone know what happened on that foul, i mena how bad is ramsey hurt. the only stream i could find is in arabic

  26. KURUPT
    February 28, 2010 at 5:14 am #

    Broken leg and knee gone I just heard not gud gutted for him. I hate seein this and it’s happened to us AGAIN!!!! Hope he will be ok but the looks on our players faces NOT GOOD!!!

  27. Geocross
    February 28, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    I hope God help him to recover quickly… this is really bad!!! fortunately he’s young and he can be playing again soon but this can’t be happening to us again!

  28. C-Bass
    February 28, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    YES!!! For you Rambo! Nik played wonderfully. And Cesc stepped it up.

  29. KURUPT
    February 28, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    That is one of the best team performs EVER. Haters can say what they want but to come back like that after a goal down and a injury like that most teams would have given in but ARSENAL DIDNT THAT IS WHAT MAKES ARSENAL BROTHERS IN ARMS.

  30. Kr8ve
    February 28, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    Arsenal..Fantastic ! Nik was wonderful..well deserved!

  31. Gjergj Cumani
    February 28, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    Ho;pe Aaron gets well soon all the way from ALBANIA mate!!!… way to go arsenal 3-1 hopefully no more injuries again.

  32. shambogunner
    February 28, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    lets pray its a clean break like dudus and no nerve damage…..they wudnt show any replays but said shawcross was high and over the ball,and judging by his own reaction he seemed to know hed had a rush of blood and he was destraught walking off
    i actually cant believe its happened again.fair play to the players for getting the result after but am gutted for the kid cos hes got his chance recently and had been staking a claim
    great result…..right in the race….
    ps my fear is our goalkeeping is gonna catch us out,that almunia is unreal

  33. eros
    February 28, 2010 at 5:37 am #

    That was a very spirited game by Arsenal against a very physical team. Pity about Ramsey as he has matured greatly during the last games – hope it’s not as bad as it looks! It is understandable with this team to turn sceptical of any chances of silverware this season, especially when the defence is caught sleeping time and again, even when playing against much inferior teams. It is fearsome what this team could acheive if all its best players hit a peak at the same time. We must keep the faith in these youngsters. C’mon Arsenal.

  34. henrykissinher
    February 28, 2010 at 5:40 am #

    i feel sick about ramsey, so gutted for the kid.

    well played by the rest of the lads stuck at it and got the result for rambo.

  35. ALGunner
    February 28, 2010 at 5:40 am #

    Oh god not again. Ramsey out with an bad injury the only downside against the stoke city games. Just hope Ramsey recovers well. God please him to recover.

  36. billi
    February 28, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    strange game, first, yes, the one who said the throw-ins by Stoke are a threat had the spot on, at the whole a match at a low level I would say, more tactical, more physical, more tricky, and yes, Arsenal didn’t look much fresh and hungry, they were rather lurking, the equalizer didn’t fit into that level, of course the goal was superb, cross and header, out of nothing for me, could only thing, yes, with few emotion, after that foul on Ramsey it was quite a deadlock, nothing seemed to happen furthermore, both teams seemed to be confident with a draw, the penalty changed this for a short time afterwards, third goal looked a bit with passion again, late but nevertheless some passion rose up, I thought Rosicky was important, and the other changes came right, at least no disruption in the game, but what should have disrupted? Rosicky didn’t seem to be at his best but nevertheless he brought some pace into the match, some accurancy, some ideas, some arrogance and some confidence, I thought, he just has this special effect, you know he can be magic, always a strange feeling if you expect some magic from a player, and I think he had a big impact on the match, at least on the third goal, it was his shot, he’s one of the few who shoots from outside the box, and Faby reacted faboulos and Vermaelen just stood at the right place at the right moment, so absolutely confident with this outcome…… yes indeed…….. though a bit boring game, wasn’t it ? 😎

  37. Avik
    February 28, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    FUCK reviews of the match. Neither the match nor the win matters anymore. Even if we go on to win the premier league and dedicate it to ramsey’s injury, what the hell does it matter? The poor chap’s leg is gone. Its a career threatening injury. It wasnt malice on shawcross’ part but what the hell? WHY US? GODDAMNIT WHY US EVERYTIME? Arsene’s damn right this time. I no longer believe in so many coincidences. Everybody wants to fuck around with our quick witty players. This injury is far far far worse than the eduardo one. At final score, they said FOX sports refused to air replays of the tackle because it was so sickening. Players nearby were either mad with fury or reduced to tears. Shawcross knows he might have destroyed the career of one of the best young talents across the globe. I saw the team-huddle cesc summoned after the match. I am sure they want to deliver the good news to his bedside that they have won the match but it fucken DOESNT MATTER. Is there anything left at all? What’s next? Next week, it will be the same scenario all over again. Some other thug from another thuggish team might as well try shooting us with a shotgun and piss on his dead body. People have been trying such stupid tackles on fabregas all the year round as well. WHAT if CESC went for the ball and this INJURY happened to him? I DONT WANT TO SEE ARSENAL WINNING SILVERWARE. All I want to see is their art form and magical passing on the field without coming across crunching tackles. NO, I FUCKIN DONT want Arsenal to play PHYSICAL and show their mettle. Bloody cunts who designed the laws of this game.

  38. Avik
    February 28, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    I am only 18 and I don’t remember the last time I have cried so much. I shouldn’t have seen this pic in the first place. I would advise everyone just to take one single glance at the pic before closing the window. You won’t be able to take it.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/a/arsenal/8541140.stm

  39. GetGunMN
    February 28, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Fuck Showcross and fuck Pulis. Don’t tell me this is not coached. What is that mean when you say there was no intent? He had his cleats high and was hoping for a miracle? There was only one outcome. Disrupting Arsenal at any cost. These guys go home thinking they have done their job and sleep well. That was typical championship team. What the fuck are they doing in the PL anyways. The only guy with any skill in that team is Tuncay, and he was warming the bench for most of the game. They should be relegated, that will be the ultimate justice!

  40. thomas
    February 28, 2010 at 7:12 am #

    Clichy was great!!!

  41. Gibbs
    February 28, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    Get well soon Ramsey. Im so gutted for him. Poor kid, he doesnt deserve this. Hopefully he’ll come back stronger than ever.

    Im really proud of the team today, it was a great performance, especially after Ramsey’s injury. We proved that we are very strong mentally and that we are ready to be champions. Now lets go on and win the title for Ramsey. coyg!

  42. Gibbs
    February 28, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    Oh, and Cesc is an effin legend, I love the kid. He and the Verminator (who should be vice captain imo) are currently my favourite Arsenal players.

  43. georgetown gooner
    February 28, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    DISGRACEFUL assault by the inbred thug on young ramsey the premier league need to take further action IMMEDIATELY!!!! the boys career could be over i,d be suprised to see young ramsey playing again within a year it looked a bad break. i thought our heads would drop like the birmingham game but FULL CREDIT to the lad for coming away with 3 vital points after such a traumatic experience, captain fantastic rallied the troops and with 2 assists and a goal showed why he is the most IMPORTANT player at arsenal fc. thoughts out to young ramsey hope to see you playing again as soon as possible.

  44. Angie
    February 28, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    I feel very sad too! It’s just horrible! how can it happen 3 freaking times ? I’m so horrified! Who could let those tears flow! he’s just a kid! this is just horrible!
    I pray for him, and I think we should all do a little page for him where we can encourage him to stay strong and never give up on the dream!

  45. georgetown gooner
    February 28, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    we,ve also got a problem now song,s booking today means a 2 game ban and with young ramsey crocked..hmmmm.

  46. Avik
    February 28, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    Ramsey should be banned for 3 matches for the psychological trauma inflicted upon Shawcross.

    Although Ramsey is ‘not that sort of player’ it cannot be a coincidence that this is the third time in 5 years an arsenal player has inflicted emotional distress upon an unsuspecting opponent.

  47. billi
    February 28, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    Fuck, the pic posted by Avic says all, I didn’t see the foul at all, I even didn’t understand what was going on, the reaction of the players told something horrific, that’s true, and the straight tranport to the urgency car as well, ignored the incident a little bit, sorry, that’s not worth it, that’s true, 😯

  48. Avik
    February 28, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    All the uploaded videos of the incident has been deleted and even all such images showing the foot hanging in the sock has also been deleted. Furthermore, the media has already began testimony for the defense.

  49. LAGunner
    February 28, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Feel terrible for Ramsey, his family, and the squad. I can’t even talk about the match really. Even if the team doesn’t win the league, they should be proud of the way they played after the horrible injury to Ramsey.

  50. Shahex
    February 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    A player will play according to the instruction. Everytime, teams playing Arsenal will go in tackles on Arsenal players full blooded. Referee should have seen this coming as they are rushing at every time an Arsenal players with the ball. Harassing an opponent is one thing but rushing into a tackle or into the players will only results to these. Pulis can say Shawcross is a good lad (I believe him), he has no malice (I believe him), but knowing that flying every time for the ball at an opponent disregarding everything and trying to impress the manager will just like I say leads to these. GOD please help Ramsey recover well. Andrew, can we have an area in this blog wishing Ramsey well recovery and where we can pass it either to him or the team. Forget about football for a moment. OMG, for God sake, he is only 19 and he need the support first and foremost.

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