Beauty & the Beast: Arsenal v Stoke City

February 27, 2010

Brawn v Beauty

It’s a classic tale really. A tale of substance versus style. Beauty versus brawn – oh hell why be coy – it’s Arsenal versus Stoke City. I don’t think I need to clarify who is who.

Arsenal make the trip to the Britannia stadium where they have not won in their last four trips. They go in to a hostile environment against a team that hasn’t lost in 11 matches. The folks at Stoke and the Britannia stadium have done everything they can to level the playing field – so to speak. The pitch is narrower and the grass is longer. All done specifically to play to the home field advantage that is the Britannia.

It has worked out brillantly and the mid-table regulars are using to create fits for any team that has come in there. True, United and Chelsea have come in and ground out wins. Not something typically associated with Arsenal but it is likely what they will have to do to walk away from this match with points. Tony Pulis plays to his team’s strength and while his lads looked resplendent and swift crushing Man City into another trophyless season, at their heart they are bruisers. And it is something they relish.

With two big centre fowards in Sidibe and Fuller receiving the trademark long throws from Delap they have muscled their way in the air to score a ton of goals. Okay not a ton. They usually don’t score more than 1 or 2 a game. They are not a team you would associate with being prolific. But they use the muscle to their advantage and since everyone claims (and some have proven) that Arsenal have a soft underside they will obviously use their physical style to their advantage.

Alot has been made of the Brittannia stadium and the size of its pitch, the area around the pitch and the length of the grass on the pitch. All of these things are done to give them advatnages against sides like Arsenal. People may not like but its allowed. It kind of harkens to the NHL – in the playoffs, you hear of opposing team practice sessions in the dark or the visitor’s dressing room kept colder than it may be out on the ice. All of these things are done to blunt the attack of the opponents. Now you may not like it – and I don’t – I would prefer it be like NASCAR where all the cars are exactly the same and it is the individual driver that has to beat you. I believe all pitches should be the exact same dimensions and the areas around the pitch equidistant and finally – the grass all kept the same length. But it’s not and they are going to have to be dealt with by Arsene’s Army. (by the way – did you ever think you’d see a NASCAR reference in a blog about Arsenal?)

For Arsenal the mission is easy – win and get back to within two points of Man United and keep pressure on Chelsea. But it is going to be difficult. The lack of a proven attacking threat is evident. Prior to Robin Van Persie’s injury Arsenal were scoring an average of 3.2 goals per league game. Since his injury that has been reduced to 1.7.

The attack is weakened still by the absence of Andrei Arshavin yet again who sits with a thigh injury. It means that it is likely that Theo Walcott will get a start again. A lot has been said about the English lad and many people are divided about wanting him to go  – and wanting him to have more time to develop. Against Sunderland last week , he improved over previous matches but still looks in decisive with the ball when he has it. The speed he has is deadly if he could put it together with a solid rocket of a foot – he might be something. Frankly, if I am Arsene I’m moving Nicky B to the wing and putting Theo in the centre. Let’s see what that does in creating chances.

Our defence will be hurting again with the absence of William Gallas. But I think this is a match that is right up Sol Campbell’s alley. Sol’s game as I have mentioned before is less to do with speed (he doesn’t have any) and its more about positioning. He reads the game so well that he beats players simply by out positioning them. Added with his height that is going to be essential for those times when Delap is given the ball to throw in around the penalty area. His size, strength and knowledge are going to come in handy in being a stopping block against Fuller or Sidibe – the most frequent recipients of Delap’s long free-throws.

Coming back to the squad – most likely on the bench – is Eduardo. The Croation has been out for a few weeks with an injury. I am curious as to the length of his stay out and am wondering if he was kept out longer than he really needed to be. The Crozillian is definitely suffering from a crisis of confidence. He looks lost with the ball and doesn’t have that killer instinct he had pre-injury. Now look that was supposed to a career-ending injury and its hard to expect anyone to come back to the way they were before something like it. I wonder if he was kept out longer to really make sure he was fully healed and to spend time working out his kinks. I don’t have anything to back this up – it’s just a hunch.

But look – we need to win. We need to win to continue fighting for the title. United are off playing in the Carling Cup final and Chelsea have an early morning date with that Arab bought club. That is likely to be rough and Chelsea are now going through a an injury crisis of their own. But we cannot worry about that we can only do what we can do and that is take care of our run of matches. A lot has been made how out of the top 3 teams, Arsenal have the easiest schedule. While that may be true – this match is probably the hardest of them all. True, we still play Spurs (but they are Spurs) and City (they do suck). Stoke are a solid team and Tony Pulis is doing a fantastic job of getting the best out of his side – with the talent they have. Arsenal need to play their game – stay focused and score.

How It Should Play Out:
Do I really need to say it? Stoke try to outmuscle and push around Arsenal. Arsenal keep the ball trying to open up Stoke. This game has a feel of the 1-0 win over Fulham, at the Cottage early in the season. Only difference – a different Manny was in goal. Bu seriously – this has draw written all over it.  Thought I don’t think anyone wouldn’t disgaree with the 3 potential outcomes possible.

Players to Watch:
Arsenal: Theo Walcott. If he starts he needs to deliver. Yes, we may expect to much from the 20 year old given the promise he showed 4 years ago. And – those 3 goals against Croatia don’t happen – the kid has the talent – he needs to realize it. A game like this is where he should begin delivering on it.

Stoke: Rory Delap. Do I need to say why? The man has a gift. In a game that requires prowess with your foot – he delivers with his hands in some remarkable throw-ins. Noone may like it – but I guarantee every manager wishes they had someone who could do it.

Probable Starting XI:


We're going to need some bandages for this one.

Arsenal: Arshavin (knee) Diaby (knee) Gallas (calf) Merida (ankle) Van Persie (ankle) Djourou (knee) Gibbs (foot)

Stoke: Higginbottom (back) Etherington (knee)

Recent League Form:
Arsenal: WWLLD

Stoke: WDDWD

Match Officials:
Referee: Peter Walton

Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt & Michael Murphy

Fourth Official: Mike Jones

TV Broadcasts:
US: FSC 1230 EST

UK: Sky Sports 1 1730 GMT

Online Feeds:

Game Day Chat will be open:

YAMA Prediction:
Arsenal: 1
Stoke 1


  1. nipuna - March 1, 2010 at 00:00

    One factor that contributes to the fact that we are not getting much sympathy from other fans is the constant whining and whinging of Arsene in the recent past.

    Example, take his recent long ball comments at Villa. Maybe there was an element of truth in it. But was it necessary? No. By saying so, he made sure that a lot of Villa fans see him as a whiner. Now when something wrong happens to Arsenal, those Villa fans certainly won’t sympathize with Arsene. They will say – who cares, let him deal with his own problems.

    A lot like we don’t care about ManU and if they suffer some injustices, because they have always been a ref supported team. E.g., Vidic not getting sent off in the Carling Cup final last night.

  2. Kiwi - February 28, 2010 at 22:01

    I don’t want to overreact yet you have to wonder what impact Aaron’s misery will have on Fabregas. This season Fab the lad has matured. He is now truly world class. He now stamps his match-winning brilliance on many games – whether it be a winning pass or a winning goal.

    Take yesterday, in the early stages (say the first 25mins) he wasn’t playing too well. I’m guessing perhaps 2 out of every 3 touches he had went amiss. That’s not normal for him. But…. football is 90 mins and Cesc has entered the realm of those who over that period can influence games. He was superb in the face of footballs dark side. A goal and two assists. And all that despite the disbelieving agony etched over his youthful face re his young teammate. I won’t forget the looks on his face and Verme’s for quite a while.

    But back on topic, what reaction from Cesc? Could anyone argue that he should stay in English football when his glue-like control of a football acts like magnet for the limited journeymen that populate much of the premier league? Why would you stay? What could be worse for a young guy with the world truly at his feet than to see 1-2-3 of his contemporaries legs split in two by absolute dross. And then for the whole Engish footballing establishment – fans, managers & media – to fall over themselves in defence of the violence. Cesc must be thinking – this is absolute stir-crazy – when’s my turn? He’s 22, a superstar, should play for 10-15 years and accumulate a bucketload of achievements yet playing for Arsenal is becoming a bit like playing russian-roulette.

    And don’t kid yourself the price is 12 months rehab – Diaby is still not fully back is he. Both he and Eduardo suffer frequent breadowns despite the careful manner and easy schedules Arsene adopts. Major injuries take several years off a player – and sometimes players are never quite what they were. That’s not a pretty statement but we all can see it is the truth.

    • stag133 - March 1, 2010 at 01:49

      you folks should be paying me residuals!

      I’ve said this before too.
      What is the point of Cesc staying around, regularly getting kicked around the pitch, and nobody in the team stepping up in response.

      If that was CESC breaking his leg, think of the uproar then!
      With the amount of times he gets hit with fouls, why COULDN’T it have been Cesc?

      He has to be thinking about that, if he is smart… the game is not brutal like this in Spain.

  3. Kiwi - February 28, 2010 at 20:27

    Arthur, thanks for the discourse, I certainly didn’t take it personally at all. We’re all trying to make sense of the senseless. How can another fine young player have his career blighted by a really nasty challenge. It’s rotten.

    Andez, Sachin, welcome home, I see LDE too.

    No one questions the referee’s have a pivotal role in this and a campaign by them would be the most effective means of reducing this menace. I just question the will for that to happen (if I’m wrong – fantastic – ditto on the title! ;-) ).

    If we can set aside the injury-horror, and talk dispassionately for a moment it is interesting that we didn’t see the severity of injuries against our team in the past (in the days of Adams and Vieira’s teams). Was that luck? I’m doubtful, as is Arsene and Fabregas (although they weren’t answering the question as I put it).

    We are being habitually fouled in many games and one can well reason that as a game progresses the players tire, and as the time elapses and the result becomes nearer and the game more critical, you can imagine that it is easier for a team with a mindset of playing at the edges of legality (perhaps bordering recklessness) to mistime and misjudge a challenge and to nastily catch an Arsenal player committed to retaining posession. In a sense we are sitting ducks. We play a neat quick brand through traffic in the middle whereby our boys focus on the ball and their teammates positions not the lunging opposition – we’re wide open.

    Arthur is right in pointing to Reye’s, this is a growing phenom and that is all the more concerning. The creeping nature of this has de-sensitised even those who would normally be offended by such systemic rough play. This is why almost everyone dismisses our concern. They have been sold a lie, that perpetual fouling is commitment. Arseblog discussed this in a fiesty yet effective manner.

    The truly frightening aspect of all this is that I can see it being repeated. The mix is not good. Our style and peace-loving personnel versus lax referring and a culture that sees perpetual fouling and bone jarring tackling as something to praise. I don’t know how to turn this around, probably it needs a number of things. Whilst not advocating gratuitous violence, we need to lose the soft tag – it serves NO good purpose and is a perfect cover for the Stokes and anyone else who wants to justify their crude tactics.

  4. joshuad - February 28, 2010 at 19:08

    I have just figured out who should be the new Arsenal manager when Wenger steps down. It’s Quigue Sanchez-Flores. Everywhere that guy goes, they play excellent football. He’s still got Valencia kicking themselves in the ass for sacking because they had a slow start one season, and for that assclown, Koeman. Now, I’ve just watched Flores’ new team, Atletic Madrid, mop the floor with Valencia 4-0 at the Calderon. They handed Barcelona their first defeat of the season a few weeks back. Sure, Barca had a few injuries but their fully fit first team would have struggled with this team.

    Anyway, Flores is my name in the hat for the next Arseanl boss.

    • stag133 - March 1, 2010 at 01:45

      yeah, ummm…
      I thought Arsene wasn’t going anywhere?

      Long term, man.
      in the long run, he’ll continue to lower the debt, sell players off for profit, and keep us near the top 4…

      that is the important thing, the economic viability and health of the club.

      Long live the King.

  5. Andez - February 28, 2010 at 18:24

    I strongly agree with one earlier post Kiwi wrote above.

    Personally, though I wish the FA to do something about it, I don’t expect they ever will. Unless like Sachin pointed out, one of England’s golden boys is the victim of a similar “in your face” approach. Then the English fans, media alike would start seriously stand up and take note.

    At the moment, let’s face it, you probably got more ppl coming out to defend the offender, that he’s really really a “nice guy”, then looking into the PROBLEM. At times made you wonder who the hell here is the VICTIM?

    Anyway, personally, I would want our players to protect ourselves. Since we got no one else we can count on or turn to.

    By that I mean – if the opposition wanna play hard ball, we should do the same with them. If they foul us hard, let’s foul them hard as well.

    I for one do not proud of winning the “Fair Play” award. Cos that means the team are made up by a bunch of “nice guys”. And you know what it likes to be the “nice guy” in real life. They may not necessary finish last, they are surely the likely one to be pushing around.

    Now imagine if you got a “bad boy” like Keown or Vieira in your side, I bet the oppositions would have to think twice before playing foul. What goes around comes around. The look of Keown and Vieira itself would have scared the c*ap out of anybody. Last thing u want is to for them to come back with a similar tackle on you that you’ve dished out to one of their teammates.

    At the moment, we don’t have anyone like that. If I were the Stoke manager, I would have done the same thing like Pulis. Now, you know you can’t PLAY the game with Arsenal if you wanna stand a chance. And you know the refs will always “let the game FLOW”. And you know if Arsenal cry foul afterward, the media and the fans will more likely call them sissy, softies, moaners rather than calling your team being dirty.

    So why not?

    I don’t care if we got another player sent off 8 times in his career playing for the club like Vieira. Hey, how many trophies Vieira won?

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 19:00

      Andez in all honesty do you think it is fear that stops players hacking at Arsenal?

      Do you really believe that when the likes Vieira was playing for us we had less fouls committed against us?

      Have you forgotten how Reyes was effectively kicked out of English football and how ManU tried to kick us off the park when we won the title at Old Trafford?

      The personnel is of little consequence, Viera used to get kicked too. It is the perception that to stop Arsenal playing you got get at ’em, that was Fergie’s invention that the media had noted and propagated.

      Most of Vieira’ sendings off were nothing to do with retribution rather recklessness, persistent fouling (i.e 2 yellows) or simply disrespect to match officials or other players (i.e spitting in Ruddock’s face). If our players start fouling hard in response then we get tit for tat anarchy on the field and I might as well watch ice hockey instead.

      • sachin - February 28, 2010 at 19:51

        Yeah, if Arsenal players start fouling, then you can be sure the media will start the red counter up again and start negatively painting Arsenal like they did in the first few years under Wenger.

      • Andez - February 28, 2010 at 19:52


        I don’t know what I believe really. But I don’t like the fact in recent years we often got bullied on the pitch.

        It’s truth even back in the Vieira era, teams adopted a similar approach, but it didn’t seem to have as much an effect us off.

        We gave as we took. Ferguson once even called us “dirty”.

        Now, we are just keep taking it.

        I think when a team earn a reputation as “hard”, they wouldn’t get bullied as often.

        When a team are labelled as “soft”, it’s natural other teams would wanna take advantage of it.

        • stag133 - March 1, 2010 at 01:43

          Again, I have made this point REPEATEDLY.

          They media used to go off on Arsenal when we’d get “another” red card…

          Vieira and Keown … were POLICE for the finesse players in our team.

          YES, it had a BIG EFFECT on what other teams did… and felt they could get away with.

          Now, there is NOBODY in the team that polices the pitch for us, stands up to a hard tackle … with a hard tackle as a response.
          TAKES A YELLOW CARD PURPOSELY… and even sometimes takes a RED… like Vieira has done for us previously.

          If you don’t understand that, then you didn’t watch closely enough when Vieira, Keown, Adams, and the like were in the squad.

          I’d much rather have the reputation of getting too many reds, than being pushovers.

    • sachin - February 28, 2010 at 19:48

      Something has to change. I cannot fathom the thought of Arsenal having to go through this again. I do think Hleb left because of the Eduardo injury but I fear that there might be other Arsenal players who might opt out because they see no protection.

      I think it was one of arthur, rvp or steve who in GDC yesterday referred to Arsenal getting their “sol” back but I would also like Arsenal to get an invisible PV running around the field helping out when needed.

      • Andez - February 28, 2010 at 20:02

        I think nothing will be changed.

        Cos the problem is it only happened to Arsenal players so far – the serious injuries suffered because of foul play.

        As a result, only Arsenal fans feel the pain. And making us sound like a bunch of cry babies complaining the the over-physical side of game.

        Fans from other teams can say clamly that – hey, give him (the offender) a break, he didn’t mean to harm him… or get on with it, this is football…

        Well, it’s easy for them to say. Cos it wasn’t happened to Rooney or Gerrard, or Drogba.

        So the only chance for the authority to start seriously looking at the problem is – let’s just sit and wait to see which player is going to be the next (gets his leg broken by an aggressive tackle). And pray that it’s not once again an Arsenal player.

  6. Kiwi - February 28, 2010 at 18:08

    Again, for the record, the Arsenal players I referred to weren’t hatchet men.

    You’re right this issue has layers of complexity and this is what I’m trying to tease out.

    If your child is getting bullied at school you don’t only speak to the teacher you also help your child take care of themselves in a variety of ways.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 18:37

      Nothing personal Kiwi. I was just trying to make my original point clear.

      It was a response to your statement “The opposition need to be thinking – if I take liberties with Arsenal they’ll retaliate. It happens in every sphere of life so I’m a bit at a loss as to why we hope we can avoid the need.” the hatchet man/men I was referring to was the one I thought you were referring to in that statement not any of the Arsenal players you were referring to in your later post.

      As for the complexity of the English footballing culture I think you may need to start a new thread for that one!

      I understand the analogy and I would agree teach your boy to take care of himself that is a real life situation in uncontrolled conditions. However Football is a game with rules that should be designed to make the game safe amongst other things. In such a scenario I would expect the teacher to ensure that my boy is safe (on the field of play)rather than he hack someone to let them know they should not mess with him.

      • arsesession - February 28, 2010 at 19:18

        The purpose for a referee.

        It is the duty of the referee to enforce the laws and insure the safety of the players.

        • sachin - February 28, 2010 at 19:43

          Sometimes I am amazed that in both the Eduardo and Ramsey injuries, atleast the ref produced a red card. I can imagine how such tackles might have passed without a yellow card but on these 2 cases, atleast the refs got that one thing right. The problem is just those other incidents that are let go. I think at times some refs think they have to let the game flow and then there are those who see nothing wrong in a few tackles here and there.

          I am at a loss for words though. Part of me still wishes the FA takes a stand against such reckless tackles. The game needs to be cleaned up on one side and then on another side, Arsenal have to continue to win in the face of such incidents.

  7. Kiwi - February 28, 2010 at 16:32

    Arthur, I largely agree and yet….. after the emotion of the Eduardo tackle had passed I continued to write believing a strong response from the authorities was appropriate and must surely come. Life lesson, it didn’t. Indeed the contrary was true, the lasting strong impression was a warped compassion for Tiny Taylor and a sense that the English game was deeply attached to the RIGHT of the Sunderlands, Birminghams, Wigans, Stokes, of this league to negate superior ability with overtly physical tactics. It wasn’t wrong indeed it was hailed as being the British game. Victory for the tryer.

    Take a poll, I reckon most opposition managers, fans and the media think we are soft and that we’re fair game to a bit of pushing around. So in this context what chance the English referee’s protecting Arsenal? Where will the motivation come from when it is asking them to change the very thing they so stubbornly hold up as good.

    If more evidence is needed as to the strange thinking at work in England’s footballing culture, look at the strength of feeling AGAINST Arsenal over diving – Eduardo the victim of one of footballs ugly challenges becomes a poster-boy for diving. The same boneheads (at every level in football) who defend Tiny Tim lambasted Eduardo over and over. This is reality and what you’re up against.

    This is why our early teams who overlaid footballing beauty on a hardy experienced core survived and excelled.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 17:37

      Kiwi I am not naive enough to believe English referees are going to protect Arsenal, nor would I want them to.

      What they need to do is protect all football players against these “unacceptable” tackles it is what is needed.

      Whether they will change the rules to cut it out or not is not what I was talking about. What I was simply suggesting was thethat the hatchet man approach is not the answer but rather a change in the disciplinary code and less tolerance in match officiating. Like I said will they or won’t they was beyond the scope of my comment.

      The footballing culture in England is a complex subject that I was not intent on discussing I think I did enough of that after Eduardo’s break.

      But of course you are right the hypocrisy from “The same boneheads (at every level in football) who defend Tiny Tim lambasted Eduardo over and over” is flabbergasting. Just not something I consider myself to be “up against” though.

      • sachin - February 28, 2010 at 17:58

        Unless Rooney or an England national player gets injured, then the refs won’t offer extra protection and will continue as they are because the refs and media all believe that Arsenal are soft. I am amazed at how I have come across people who are angry at Wenger over his comments than the Ramsey injury.

        In all three Arsenal injuries, the players who did the tackles were all english. Yet, if one day an English player is injured by a foreigner, then you can imagine the noise in the media.

        • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 19:05

          Look at the amount of noise made at Gallas’ challenge the other day, I cannot remember who but he was English I think.

          There was no doubt in the commemtator’s mind that he meant it either. The hypocrisy of these people is amazing.

    • sachin - February 28, 2010 at 17:54

      Like you I had thought something might have been done after the Eduardo injury but nothing happened. And now, this happens again and I am convinced nothing will ever be done because such tackles are put down as part of the English footballing culture and are considered part of the physical game.

      The only justice I think is if Arsenal continues to find a way to win despite such tackles. Then teams might be forced to improve technically because right now they have seen Arsenal can be stopped by kicking.

      Or I wish all the foreign players and managers decide to leave the EPL. Then the english media can see endless games of their own getting stuck in and showing commitment.

  8. Andez - February 28, 2010 at 15:38

    had Wenger really INTENDED to sell him, then Wenger must be a genius. He had figured out back in the summer our center half Vermaelen would have scored just as many goals as Ade (8 Vs 9), so why not let the sulking striker goes for 25 mil?

    Great piece of business.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 16:10

      Dez You can be sure Wenger intended to sell him, he didn’t want to go but was persuaded to.

      £25 mill is a great deal however I am not sure about the ingenuity of it in retrospect, considering RvPs injury.

      A hungry Adebayor would have been a great replacement for Van Persie. He would have had something to prove and been more effective than anyone we have played in that central role so far.

      Anyway the Dade is now Blue so let’s move on and hope Bendtner can continue with goal a game at least.

  9. Kiwi - February 28, 2010 at 15:35

    Adams, Bould, Keown, Dixon, Winterburn, Campbell, Vieira, Petit, Parlour – everyone of these guys could handle themselves in English football. Collectively, they presented a team that had high technical merit together with toughness and robustness. They weren’t a Grim Reaper of Retribution nor did they set out to create a turf war, LOL. But we didn’t get pushed around.

    These tackles WE are suffering from don’t come out of the blue yet neither are they expressly pre-meditated. But they do come from an attitude that Arsenal can be fouled off their game by playing us aggressively at the margins of the way the laws are interpreted in England. Because fouling us is an acceptable approach it becomes only a matter of time before a foul has a real nasty consequence in the heat of a game. This mindset is pervasive in England, from managers to players to fans to media – nobody sees the big deal and many think Arsenal are soft artisans. In my mind it’s simplistic and silly to pretend the referee’s alone are going to protect you in England. Yes, advocating for better protection is part of the answer yet the English footballing culture won’t change quickly. And no I’m not suggesting thuggery, was Vieira a thug? But he was a physical and savvy player who understood how things got sorted out on the field.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 16:03

      I understand your perspective Kiwi.

      I still think we need to sort things out in an official sense or players will continue to be reckless.

      Give out longer bans to players who cause injury due to thoughtless and negligent “challenges”. And referees need to clamp down on the inumerable “little” fouls dished out to targetted individuals like Cesc in the Sunderland game. It would make for a much better sport if players know they can’t get away with that rubbish anymore.

    • stag133 - March 1, 2010 at 01:36

      I’ve made this point repeatedly.

      Nobody on Arsenal is going to do anything to stop or in response to over-physical play against us, so it will continue.

      It has in fact, proven to be effective against us.

  10. DaAdminGooner - February 28, 2010 at 15:04

    Can’t that miserable twat Adebuywhore shut the fuck up!!! He didn’t want to go? What was the season before trying to go off to Italy? I didn’t see Wenger pushing his lazy ass out the door. I saw a petulant, egotistical, selfish player want more money for one season of good work. Bah.

    His score rate is awful this season. Just like last. Hell, he has played significantly more than RvP and only has 2 goals more. Hell – part 2 – Vermaelen only has 2 goals less than him.

    Let’s face it – he is not going to figure much in Mancini’s side and is already regretting his move. That’s all this is. I am sure sooner or later we will hear Adebuywhore wants to go to (insert Italian club here).

    Thank goodness he is someone else’s problem.

  11. stag133 - February 28, 2010 at 14:16

    and I definitely believe Adebayor didn’t want to leave,
    that it was Arsenal / Arsene that wanted to sell him,
    and make the many millions, throw in Toure, who didn’t want
    to leave either… just names added to the long list of sell-offs
    for nice profits.
    It WILL continue.

    • joshuad - February 28, 2010 at 14:21

      Toure wanted to leave. He didn’t like Gallas and didn’t like the fact that both Gallas a super-young Fabregas were prefered to him to be the captain at Arsenal. After all, Toure had been in the first team much longer than anyone else, was an invincible and an FA Cup winner, and had shown tremendous loyalty to the club. How could he not feel offended that Arsene passed him over for the captaincy?

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 14:22

      Toure wanted to leave, he wanted the money Arsene never keeps a player that wants to go.

      As for Ade, would you want to keep a player on £80,000 a week if you know you are not likely to play him?

      The wise thing to do is to sell them both regardless of the profit.

      It WILL continue… we are not call the Ars£nal for nothing ;-) Stag

  12. joshuad - February 28, 2010 at 14:13

    Thanks. I thought that it was Shawcroft who tackled Adebayor out of bounds last year but I wasn’t certain. Adebayor was ruled out for three weeks initially but I believe he was out for a bit longer than that.

  13. nipuna - February 28, 2010 at 13:24

    By the way, a lot of my friends (including a Bayern Munich supporting German guy) felt that there wasn’t much wrong with the tackle as “they both went for the ball”.

    Is something wrong with the whole world or is it just us?

    • stag133 - February 28, 2010 at 14:14

      It was not a challenge that looks like the player is trying to do damage, I’ll say that…

      but when the penalty is 10 game suspension, unpaid… then perhaps the players will think about playing recklessly, until then, it will continue.

    • joshuad - February 28, 2010 at 14:16

      The problem is most players go in to win the ball but when they realize they won’t, they will typically pull out a bit in their challenge. My problem is Shawcroft knew he wasn’t going to win the ball and still went in hard. The same thing happened with Adebayor when he was two meters out of bounds and the ball was even farther out of bounds. He should have been sent off for the challenge on Adebayor but it wasn’t even deemed a foul.

    • sachin - February 28, 2010 at 15:01

      Apparently it is just us. A commentator here in Canada is angry with Wenger’s comments saying that what does he expect from Stoke? This is the way Stoke play, and then he went onto defend Shawcross. Nonsense.

      Nothing will change until one day John Terry breaks Rooney’s leg just before the world cup. But even then, the media will be divided in supporting Terry or Rooney. No one will take a long hard look at the english and their false sense of commitment.

      I will say the same thing that I said after Eduardo was injured. If the same instructions of getting stuck in and showing commitment were said to Paolo Maldini before an Arsenal game, would he ever break a player’s leg? Nope.

  14. arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 13:05

    Well it seems it was Shawcross who put the Dadebayor out for 3 weeks. It seems he has a bit of a reputation for “carelessness”

    He has broken two legs (none of them his own) and he is only 22, Ryan Shawcross a product of the ManUre youth system.

  15. nipuna - February 28, 2010 at 13:01

    Andez’ fav blog echoes my views on English football still being in the dark ages.

    Edit: Comments on this blog say that Shawcross also broke Francis Jeffers’ ankle. A lot of other blogs say the same thing.

    That would make a hat-trick of Arsenal players, wouldn’t it? Jeffers, Ade, and Ramsey.

  16. OziKenyan - February 28, 2010 at 12:17

    And Dadebayor is back in the headlines. He claims he never wanted to leave. Old news isn’t it? Hasn’t he been claiming that this whole time. In light of what happened in Africa and what happened yesterday, I can’t be bothered too much. A fair bit of the hate I had for him has gone. Not worth it…

  17. nipuna - February 28, 2010 at 09:17

    Stoke statement –,,10310~1979586,00.html

    The usual stuff about wishes, sympathy and thoughts. There is even mention about being upset. But not a hint of an apology or being sorry.


    • OziKenyan - February 28, 2010 at 10:09

      No apology anywhere is ridiculous. But at least Shawcross did go over immediately after to express some sort of regret.

  18. joshuad - February 28, 2010 at 08:41

    On the surface, this is an easy perception. Like I’ve continually said, when things are going bad, it’s easy to say some bullshit. Many of our regulars, who are smart and well respected posters, come here and think they know it all. But as a fan, we really know jack-shit; certainly compared to Wenger. You’ve just got to respect that as a fan, there are many things going on at the club that we simply don’t know about. That’s been my whole point all along.

    Before the Chelsea game, I made the point to you that it was paramount we have Bendtner fit for the rest of the season, opposed to risking him for three points at Chelsea if he wasn’t ready. We had 39 other points and a Champions League to play for this season and he was our only option at center forward. He’s been vital, scoring our game-winner last week. Likewise he scored our opening goal yesterday that no one else could have scored and created the handball that lead to our go-ahead goal yesterday. Even thought I’m no Bendtner fan, a proper center forward is paramount. When it comes to being a coach, you simply can’t afford the myopia many fans have.

    I’ve always respected you because you’ve always had the humility to admit if you may have made a mistake in judgement. I, too, have admitted to perhaps a mistake in my assessment of some players. In the end, for fans like us, it’s always about Arsenal. For others, their egos are more important. The season’s not over and we can still self-destruct, but it’s not looking too bad right now. Pardon my petulant drama. I had too much kool-aid last night.

  19. joshuad - February 28, 2010 at 08:15

    I remember seeing Witsel’s challenge on youtube. That was a bad challenge, sort of like the challenges suffered by Eduardo and Diaby. I do have a big big problem with those kinds of challenges. They are banned in football and the reason why is evident. However, the BPL referees allow this type of challenge to happen every week. They have got to send out a strong message.

    Shawcross’ challenge was not that type of studs-up challenge. However, it was a challenge he clearly wasn’t going to win, yet he still refused to pull out of the challenge. Maybe it was fatigue as later in the game, residual effects begin to show throughout the Stoke team from their mid-week endeavors. Regardless, officials have to be willing to show the resolve necessary to send these guys off for going so hard into a challenge they’re not going to win.

  20. arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 07:42

    Great victory by the lads, as expected it was hard work, but we did the job eventually coming from behind as well makes the victory even more sweet. However after what happened to Aaron Ramsey the bitterness overwhelmed the sweet. I fit had been Cesc it may well have proved the end of our season effectively.

    It Eduardo part two, another reckless challenge.

    He was way too close to Ramsey to be going in with so much force. It was not studs up but with the force he went in with he was able to break Ramseys leg with his laces. Ramseys feet being planted in the ground at the time of collision meant only one thing.

    It is time that players are taught that going in for a perceived 50/50 with such force is not worth the risk just for the chance that they MIGHT win the ball. Aaron was by far the favourite to get that ball that is why he didn’t have to dive in it was not 50/50 in reality.

    I do not think the guy intended to hurt Ramsey at all but the general lack of regard for another players safety albeit in a spur of the moment decision was callous to say the least.

    I think Aaron will recover though. Gibril Cisse recovered from a break in a similar place. Eduardo will be a brilliant inspiration for him too.

  21. Kiwi - February 28, 2010 at 06:46

    Something happened today that has been a long time coming. Fan’s watched Arsenal with a deep welling of pride. This is the level of support that teams earn with their performances not by merely wearing the clubs crest. You earn it, not by asking or demanding, but by responding to adversity. Kudos.

    Lightening has struck thrice. It’s blackened my day. What to do? Yes, we should articulate our concern as Arsene has done. I thought something had to happen post-Eduardo, yet no England is fixated with this ‘committed’ banality. Will something happen via the authorities this time? Perhaps. Perhaps not. What does need to happen is for us to appreciate the context in which we play. Many have long wondered when will our overall game develop a hardened edge both mentally and physically. Perhaps today we saw a real mental resiliance.

    Yet I still fear for the lack of deterrent in this side. Any team needs it. Otherwise who will be next to get hacked? To hope the officials will ‘protect’ our players as they pursue passing purity is likely folly. This is England. We need to protect ourselves and that includes having an edge to our game. Deterrent is necessary. The opposition need to be thinking – if I take liberties with Arsenal they’ll retaliate. It happens in every sphere of life so I’m a bit at a loss as to why we hope we can avoid the need. I can’t recall a serious horror-injury during our successful years – now we regularly get fouled and very badly. To be fair we are a bit tougher and more mature thanks to time, yet it seems not to be enough.

    Lovely to see Chelsea stumble badly – a 3 point lead only. Superb. Stay strong Aaron.

    • OziKenyan - February 28, 2010 at 07:53

      I agree Kiwi. We need a couple of Stoke minded players in our team to protect the rest. Trouble is, they need to have the technical ability to play our level of footy as well. But all in all, I would love such a player. If for nothing else, to ensure that we can at least play our game with a little bit less fear of getting our legs snapped in half.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 08:01

      Kiwi rather than wish we had some sort of Grim Reaper of Retribution to start some kind of turf war do you not think the civilised approach would be to put pressure on the officials and toughen the diciplinary system?

      Damn I am surprised to hear that from you, this is football a game after all.

      • OziKenyan - February 28, 2010 at 09:44

        Civilised approach prolly isn’t going to work. Bring on Storrie. Our own anti-football merchant to kick stoke to oblivion. I feel disgusting even considering it.

  22. nipuna - February 28, 2010 at 03:14

    In Belgium, Axel Witsel got an 8 game ban for a similar challenge. He publicly apologized to the player and media after widespread condemnation of his tackle.

    In England, both Taylor and Shawcross will get away with just 3 game bans!!

    It shows how far the rest of Europe has advanced, while England is still living in the dark ages.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 07:48

      Nip you are right it is disgraceful really.

      It was an accident in this case, I do not know about this Axel incident.

      However I do think a long ban like that sends out a message to all this so called “committed” players that recklessness will be punished, might help them to sort out their poor decision making.

      Something has to change this should not be happening again and again.

      • nipuna - February 28, 2010 at 08:01

        The best analogy is drunken driving. When you drink and drive, you are not intending to kill anyone. Hey, you are not that sort of a chap. But if you run over someone, you are usually jailed.

        A long ban is absolutely needed as a deterrent for the future.

        We also need a better standard of refereeing. Any rash challenge must be carded irrespective of impact to the other player. Many say that too many cards will stop the flow of play. But if it cleans up the game, it will be worth it.

        • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 08:36

          Of course you are right Nip I remember saying something similar after the Eduardo incident.

          However the point I was making is was is it manslaughter or murder. I do not know anything about the Axel incident i.e whether it was some sort of intentional retributive challenge that showed obvious attempt to get his man or a negligent and reckless challenge that can be attributed to Shawcross.

          As i said such recklessness deserves a long ban anyway but I was wondering whether they had given Axel an additional punishment because of the intent.

  23. nipuna - February 28, 2010 at 03:11

    What are you guys going on about nobody deserves to win the title this year? Are you kidding me!!!! The title goes to the team which is best among 20 over 38 games. If it is Arsenal this year, I don’t give a rat’s ass if the other teams are a pile of shit.

    I have spent too many years hearing that Arsenal “deserved” something out of the game but got nothing. Did the opposition feel bad? Hell NO. SO why should we? If we win the title this year, we will have thoroughly deserved it!!

    • OziKenyan - February 28, 2010 at 07:17

      spot on mate

      • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 07:54

        Agreed, spot on.

        This is how titles are supposed to be contended.

        It has been far too much dominance in seasons previous. The fact the big 4 ain’t steam rolling everybody is a good thing.

        The team on top at the end deserves it. Probably not as much as Arsenal do , but they deserve it.

  24. live_dont_exist - February 28, 2010 at 03:10

    Get well soon Aaron Ramsey.

  25. nipuna - February 28, 2010 at 03:09

    First and foremost, my best wishes to Ramsey for a speedy recovery. A fantastic lad, I only hope he gets back soon and becomes the classy player that he is.

    Secondly, what a win!!! Going down early, then the Ramsey incident, and still we fight back to win the game. YES!!! Now that is called character.

    Sometimes you just wonder if it is fate. Games like these can be a season defining moment. In this case, it could be an era defining moment for Arsene and his youth team. Two years back, it was all for the worse. This year, it seems like it is all for the good.

    This was the game I feared the most. Not Spurs away or Birmingham away, it was Stoke away. To win it and in exceptional circumstances is a tribute to the mental strength this team has shown. We simply have to go and win it now.

    Otherwise, Ramsey’s injury will simply remain a yet another footnote in the game report.

  26. arsesession - February 27, 2010 at 18:45

    Terrific commitment today. Everyone !

  27. macmac123 - February 27, 2010 at 18:26

    This from the Guardian:

    Stoke 1-3 Arsenal

    A late goal on the day of the Eduardo injury ruined their 2007-08 title challenge; a late goal on the day of Aaron Ramsey’s equally awful injury has ignited their 2009-10 title challenge. The sense of unity was palpable in those last 10 minutes. They get into a post-match huddle in the centre circle, and their triumphant body language is that of a team who feel they have turned corner. It’s reminiscent of Chelsea whipping off their shirts at Blackburn in 2004-05 and Manchester United celebrating wildly at Anfield in 2006-07. History is written by the victors, and if Arsenal do win the league this will go down as the Day We Won The Title.

    Let’s not get our hopes up too much, but it was a fighting performance in the end. We had to battle and show some grit, and we did.

    As for John Terry and Chelsea – it’s called karma, cuntholes!

    • stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 20:46

      Terry is the one that deserved Ramsey’s fate.
      Loved Bridge not shaking his hand, and he is 100% right for not playing for England.

      karma is a bitch.

  28. joshuad - February 27, 2010 at 18:11

    In fairness, I actually like Shawcross as a player but he does have an edge to his game. Last year when we played Stoke, someone kicked Adebayor when he was like two meters out of bounds. That led to his extended time out of the team. However, I don’t remember if it was Shawcross.

    Another credit that goes to Stoke is that I only recall seeing one of their players go to ground after Ramsey’s injury. Even that challenge was more intuitve than deliberate.

  29. DaAdminGooner - February 27, 2010 at 18:03

    I just want say that today was a perfect reason why Sol was resigned – not only did absolutely try and pummel Shawcross – he was responsible for bringing the entire squad together on the pitch.

    And Stag I agree – Clichy looked back to form for 98% of the time. He made some excellent steels.

    I will say this even before the inury to Ramsey Stoke were looking ragged. While we may not have scored two- I felt we definitely had another in us.

    Injury aside – glad we got the points. The title race is on – I will stick to my point – it matters little what you do agains the big 4 and matters completely what you do against everyone else.

    • stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 20:43

      I thought it didn’t matter what we do match to match and this season… what matters is that we reduce the debt and that the club remain in a good financial position.

      That’s what I read here when we lose.
      When we win, and United and Chelsea lose, the story changes, its all about us winning.

      • joshuad - February 28, 2010 at 08:43

        On the surface, this is an easy perception. Like I’ve continually said, when things are going bad, it’s easy to say some bullshit. Many of our regulars, who are smart and well respected posters, come here and think they know it all. But as a fan, we really know jack-shit; certainly compared to Wenger. You’ve just got to respect that as a fan, there are many things going on at the club that we simply don’t know about. That’s been my whole point all along.

        Before the Chelsea game, I made the point to you that it was paramount we have Bendtner fit for the rest of the season, opposed to risking him for three points at Chelsea if he wasn’t ready. We had 39 other points and a Champions League to play for this season and he was our only option at center forward. He’s been vital, scoring our game-winner last week. Likewise he scored our opening goal yesterday that no one else could have scored and created the handball that lead to our go-ahead goal yesterday. Even thought I’m no Bendtner fan, a proper center forward is paramount. When it comes to being a coach, you simply can’t afford the myopia many fans have.

        I’ve always respected you because you’ve always had the humility to admit if you may have made a mistake in judgement. I, too, have admitted to perhaps a mistake in my assessment of some players. In the end, for fans like us, it’s always about Arsenal. For others, their egos are more important. The season’s not over and we can still self-destruct, but it’s not looking too bad right now. Pardon my petulant drama. I had too much kool-aid last night.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 08:12

      Hey DAG wasn’t it you that suggested Sol wasn’t a soldier ;-)

  30. arsesession - February 27, 2010 at 18:01

    Telegraph has still photo of Ramsey injury. Doesn’t look like its his ankle – but the
    lower right leg. Horrific……….

  31. Andez - February 27, 2010 at 17:48

    btw, I remember following Eduardo’s injury, I wrote if FA doesn’t offer players more protection, the same thing will happen again.

    Of course, I never expected it would once again happen to us. Lighting does strike twice. Or indeed, three time, if you count Dan Smith’s tackle on Diaby (anyone still remember that?) in it.

    On Ramsey’s injury, I don’t really blame Shawcross for it, as it’s a 50/50 ball, it could have happened to him instead of Ramsey (now I’d like to see what the media got to say if it’s an Arsenal player broken a Stoke City player’s leg).

    Anyway, overall speaking, the fact that referees often let a dangerous tackle go, if anything, only encouraging the dangersous tackling.

    Let’s face it, had Ramsey not having his leg chopped into pieces, the ref might not even sent Shawcross off.

    I remember the previous match Vs Sunderland, a flying two foot tackle from a Sunderland midfielder could have ended Eboue’s career. But all he got was a yellow card.

    Anyone noticed the term “anti-football” seem to only exist in England. Has anyone seen a lowly Spanish or Italian club’s playing style being called “anti football”?

    As long as the refs in England continue to let dirty players getting away from it, it will only encourage more and more lowly side to play anti football. That’s the way I see it.

    • HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 18:51

      I haven’t looked at the photo or any video yet but from what I saw, at first glance, it seemed like a clean break of the tibula and fibula, which often happens to skiers. If it’s clean the chances for a full and reasonably fast recovery aren’t that bad…fingers crossed.

  32. DaAdminGooner - February 27, 2010 at 17:47

    FYi – Ryan Shawcross was just announced as part of the squad for this week’s England v Egypt Friendly. (as is Theo)

    Yes, I shit you not.

    And Pulis did come out with “he’s not a bad lad.”

    Oh, and the word is that it is a clean break.

  33. Andez - February 27, 2010 at 17:36

    Yeah Steve, I too wish it’s a different circumstance.

    Frankly, I can’t put my mind at ease worrying about Ramsey’s injury. Mainly because I’d seen another collision similar to this happened to another kid around the start of the Premiership. And that kid, I forgot his name, never play football again.

    Ramsey’s injury looked far worse than Eduardo. Cos it’s head on full force collision.

    If it happened to a 30-year-old veteran, I would feel for him, but not as much as a teenager whose career is just about to start.

    Finger cross Ramsey’s alright, and will be able to make it back again.

    • joshuad - February 27, 2010 at 17:58

      Agreed, Andez. After Eduardo was injured and successfully returned, I believe many expect Ramsey to have a full recovery as well. There’s simply no guarantee that he will ever play football again.

      Truly, prayers should go out for our young star and his family. Likewise, let’s hope this galvanizes our young team.

  34. sachin - February 27, 2010 at 17:08

    There were eerie similarities in events between the Bmham game two years ago. Feb 23, 2008, in the early game the horrific Eduardo injury and a late penalty sunk the title.

    now, Feb 27, 2010, in the late game, a horrific injury takes place but a late penalty gives Arsenal the win. So can 2 years of hurt be put away and a title won?

    two years ago, the players were horrified and there were tears. Today, even TV was horrified but he scored the winner and I think that will help ease the wounds of some of the players. The huddle at the end showed team spirit, something missing 2 years ago when Gallas was off on his own.

    I really hope the signal that fate sent out is understood by the team. Although I kept thinking that if Eduardo would have scored, then the universe might have been set right and two miserable years would have been over.

    Still..praying for this title. Arsene and Arsenal need this, especially the players such as Cesc. I would say the fans need the title but that might sound greedy, no? :)

    • CaribKid - February 27, 2010 at 17:19

      Agreed Sachin. After the injury I felt an overwhelming sense of Deja Vu and was transported to that fateful Birmingham game 2 years ago.

      Glad it worked out differently this time.

    • HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 17:21

      As I said earlier today in the GDC, there should be no title awarded this season, as none of the top 3 bought anybody (to help immediately) in the January window…Since Chelsea and United are emulating our financial approach AND we will (obviously) win the “profit trophy” WE should get the EPL title in lieu….
      (And re-name it the Aaron Ramsey Trophy, after today’s events….)

      ;-), and :-) and :-(

      • CaribKid - February 27, 2010 at 18:17

        Why not?

        • HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 18:49

          Bit of a joke there, but Chelsea and United are certainly not matching up to the squads of their championship winning years, much as we aren’t….

          The winning point total this season will be on the very low side.

  35. rvp4mvp - February 27, 2010 at 17:03

    I loved watching the players change positions and flow around giving the stoke defense different looks. It sorted of reminded me of a basketball game where the team sets up the offense in different ways each time they come down the court fantastic stuff.

  36. CaribKid - February 27, 2010 at 16:57

    Arsenal came of age today. We did not allow the Ramsey injury to rattle us and instead went about the task of taking care of business. In fact, Stoke looked like they were more rattled us.

    For the first in a very long time our forwards and attacking midfielders freely interchanged positions which did not allow Stoke to man mark and press as they normally do.

    Refereeing was SHIAT as usual with 2 clear penalties against us not given and Song received a non-deserved yellow card for a foul which did not exist.

    very difficult to choose a MOTM as everyone played fairly well without excelling. Probably go to Cesc.

    Cesc also seems to be maturing nicely and the group session after the game spoke volumes for his personal growth as captain.

    Sol again played extremely well.

    • sachin - February 27, 2010 at 17:14

      yeah Arsenal needed to win this after that injury and I did believe that this team could win today but hey then again, I thought the team would have hung 2-1 against Bgham in 2008.

      Everytime I say that Cesc can’t impress me more, he does something that makes me regard him even more. And the fact that TV scored the final goal especially after how rattled he looked after the injury continues to mean that my awe for him grows.

    • HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 17:15

      TV5 (Captain at Ajax) was not exactly Robocop in his reaction to the injury, glad to see him get his goal…

  37. OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 16:40

    And stag after watching the “football” that stoke played, how you don’t see it as antifootball is beyond me… Physicality in the sport is fine. But there should be intent to play the ball don’t you think?

    • stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 16:50

      There was no difference in this match to virtually any match I have seen this season.

      No difference in the stadium or the pitch, to MOST in the league.

      The injury was horrific, but it is not a result of anti-football. They didn’t have any other horror tackles, that injury is down to ONE A-HOLE, not a team.
      As we discussed when Eduardo was injured, he should be suspended until Ramsey is back playing.

      • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 16:59

        Actually I’m not talking just about the injury. They were kicking us all over the place (whether the ball was around or not). How bout another example.. What did you think of that shove on Bendtner in the area in injury time (clear penalty btw)?

        And the condition of the pitch was woeful. It is no secret that Pulis prefers it that way. Why you continue to ignore this is beyond me.

        • CaribKid - February 27, 2010 at 17:07

          Stoke are a physical team do play aggressively. However, I would not call it anti-football and have to agree with Stag that they were not putting in dangerous tackles all over the pitch ala Bolton and Blackburn.

          • HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 17:12

            I would call it anti-football in that they are attempting to shorten the match by having a narrow pitch so the ball goes into touch…They’ve also got a bunch of out of shape players so the Towel Wipe And Throw (TWAT) helps these players catch their breath. Their fans shouldn’t be forced to pay as much for a “shorter” match… ;-)

          • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 17:13

            No team puts in dangerous tackles all over the pitch on purpose. But plenty of them kick us around all over the pitch “just to let us know they’re there”. It is subtle enough that it’ll often be missed and if not they’ll usually get a warning at most. But disruptive nonetheless.

            Again- I realize they have no choice but to do this to have any sort of chance. But that doesn’t make it any less vile.

        • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 17:09

          Oh I’ve got another one. When it was 1-1, Stoke got a throw right next to their dugout. Pulis had the ball, his player that was going to take the throw was on the byline about 2 yards away, and he purposely threw it about 5-7 yards away in the opposite direction.. eat up the time right? It’s disgusting. A team full of scum all the way through Stoke.

  38. stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 16:36

    The Ramsey injury was just horrific.
    I am glad they didn’t show a replay, as I just don’t need to see it.

    The fact that we went on to get 3 points, was promising.
    The players were just distraught, just like with Eduardo.
    Good response this time.

    I thought the defense, other than the Delap throw, was very good.
    Sol Campbell is solid and confident…
    and you can see Gael Clichy is getting more fitness.
    He was EXCELLENT today.
    That’s right CLICHY was EXCELLENT. same sentence. both words.

    Both teams played exactly how they always do. Stoke does what it does, Arsenal does what it does.
    We are just better than Stoke, so once we settled, we were the better team. We took advantage of the extra man, but it was not worth it in
    terms of the price to pay.

    just like I said.

    does the away club get any of the gate from matches?
    hopefully we made some profit.

    • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 17:01

      Agree with this one post fully.

      And yes, we do make some money out of away games. Not enough to cover the wages and all, but I think with this being a late game (extra TV money i think), we may be in the black some.

      Although that’ll all go to paying for Ramsey’s rehab and wages while he’s out I guess…

    • sachin - February 27, 2010 at 17:03

      Stag, brilliant call on the score line. Maybe all the team needs to win the title is you calling the scores :) and oh yeah, not buy any more merchandise.

    • CaribKid - February 27, 2010 at 17:04

      Agreed about the Ramsey injury. There is not enough Rum in the world to make me want to see that again. Hope the kid is okay because he is one of the few kids with true world class talent and will eventually make us 60 Million when we sell Fab and replace him with Ramsey.

      Clichey played okay today, but was out of position quite a few times and was bailed out by Vermaelen. He also got skinned a few times and had to be bailed out by song and vermaelen.

      • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 17:17

        If he plays again.. His ankle looked stuffed up but the commentators were going on about his knee. Sounds really messed up and I pray for him.

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 07:14

      Yeah maybe we can win the league and make profit contrary to popular belief ;-)

      Oh yeah good call on the score Stag it was far from comfortable as you predicted though.

  39. Andez - February 27, 2010 at 16:34

    God I hope Ramsey is alright. He’s my no.1 favourite current Arsenal player. A bright bright future ahead. I hope his future won’t get cut short by that. When there’s no TV replay of the incident.. that’s bad.

    • stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 16:37

      for once, I am happy they didn’t show the replay.

      showing his leg hanging was more than enough.

      very talented, but it too will be a long road back.

    • HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 17:08

      Andez, glad to have you back…wish it were better circumstances…

    • arthur3sheds - February 28, 2010 at 07:12


      My thoughts go out to him.

      He will be back though. Cisse recovered from a break just like that.

      • OziKenyan - February 28, 2010 at 07:42

        Let’s hope he recovers similarly. Cisse took about 7 months. Ramsey is still young and i believe that improves his chances. And let’s hope he comes back even stronger.

  40. OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 16:05


  41. stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 15:27

    Delap is responsible for 15 goals this season for Stoke?
    Another against us today.
    If that is anti-football, we need to get some.

    I don’t see anything wrong with their pitch, the grass looks
    like any other pitch, and they actually play a decent style.

    1-1 at half.
    OK. no matter what, there are 10 more games, so we’ll
    be just fine regardless.

    • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 16:06

      If you don’t see the difference in pitch or the bobbles wen the ball is on the ground then ur more blind than wenger

      • stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 16:30

        No PROBLEM with the PITCH at ALL.
        Same as MANY pitches in the leauge.
        They get snow and rain and it chews up the pitch.
        You understand that, right?

        • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 16:35

          What it’s the only pitch in the country that goes through all that wear? Pompey have a better pitch than that and their groundsman doesn’t even get paid

          • stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 16:40

            do you watch other matches, or just Arsenal?

            There are NUMEROUS pitches in the league that are chewed up during Winter. Especially this year, with all the snow they’ve had.
            I am not joking, it happens EVERY year… it is not done on purpose… it is not anti-football.

            There was a pitch in Italy last week that was 5 times worse than that…

            • OziKenyan - February 28, 2010 at 07:23

              Yes I do watch other matches thanks.

              “it is not done on purpose”- That’s just it. It is done on purpose with this lot. If not, than fair enough it is a lack of control on Stokes part and I take back what I said.

              But by all accounts, they do do it on purpose and deserve all the stick they get.

  42. tAi - February 27, 2010 at 14:54

    We need to learn how to throw like Delap. That was like a free kick.

  43. DaAdminGooner - February 27, 2010 at 14:09

    Arsenal Starting XI, Almunia, Clichy, Campbell, Vermaelen, Sagna, Ramsey Nasri, Fabregas, Eboue, Bendtner, Song

    Subs: Silvestre, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Vela, Fabianski, Traore

  44. stag133 - February 27, 2010 at 13:14

    I actually think we will win today, probably with
    a bit of comfort… 3-1?
    Not sure why, just not to worried.

    Good to see City crap on Chelsea, as I hope Terry gets
    what he should, and players just pummel him on the pitch.
    What comes around – goes around, and karma can be a bitch.

    But I’m adopting the longterm logic…
    today’s match, and what Chelsea did, not really what is
    important, so no real need to go into what players did and didn’t
    do and line-ups.

    Look, we made a smashing profit again, over 32 Million GBP, and
    lowered the debt big time…
    If we sell off Cesc for say $40 Million GBP this Summer (or next), it
    will be another big bite out of the debt, and we’ll have another
    big profit season, and financially we will be in a great position.

    Enjoy the game, hopefully we win, and we’re able to play a good
    style, even at the anti-football Stoke/Britannia Stadium.
    We can overcome that. Arsene will strategize to beat them, no doubt.

    Go on Ar$enal.

  45. joshuad - February 27, 2010 at 13:08

    If we win today, we’re three points back with thirty points left to pay for. Stag, I told you before the Chelsea game that the season wasn’t over. We’ll see how it goes.

    Wilshire and Stuart Holden are playing for Bolton today. Gotta love that, a yank and a gunner.

  46. sachin - February 27, 2010 at 13:06

    For once I am glad that the entire handshake issue is not regarding Wenger but instead two english players, including one ex-national captain. And City’s win today is absolutely great and gives Arsenal another chance to atone for a few past awful results.

    Normally an important game like today’s was labeled as a cup game by Wenger in the past but I am wary of that term now because given how Arsene has treated the F.A Cup recently so I certainly hope the players treat this game more seriously than the F.A Cup. And if Arsenal get a win and do not concede from a throw in and keep Fuller off the score sheet, that would be an extra bonus.

  47. nipuna - February 27, 2010 at 12:15

    “You guys make a lot more of it. I know what JT is like and nothing surprises me about him. Everyone knows what he’s like. But that’s off the pitch. On it he’s an outstanding player and a great captain.”

    Isn’t Bellamy a lovely fella?

    • HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 12:46

      Funny how Tevez spoke decent English but then deferred to Bellamy, when the subject turned to JT…

  48. nipuna - February 27, 2010 at 12:13

    Isn’t this lovely? If I had stayed at home to watch the game, I am sure Chelsea would have thrashed City. Instead I went out, right after Bridge did not shake hands with Terry, and City thrash Chelsea.

    Thankfully, I was out buying a new tv (for my new home), so I did get to see some parts. I even jumped out loud at the tv store when Bellamy scored the fourth. :)


  49. HighburyterraceSteve - February 27, 2010 at 12:00

    Craig Bellamy: “Everybody in football knows what John Terry is like, so I won’t say anything about that….”

    Chelsea 2-4 City….Interesting…

    Our match now looms very large. CSM (Clean Sheet Manny) will be the key as he goes for his 3rd straight.

    In the meantime, the options are B’ham vs Wigan or Bolton-Wolves…I’ll be drinking coffee, doing a bit of snow removal/ski prep (we got 8 inches overnight) and sitting in the GDC if anybody can handle some Stevie-chat….

  50. OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 11:28

    1-3 in the CHelsea game. Game over by all indications. Need to pile on the pressure here and find a way to win tonight.

    Oh and for once, the red card wish is coming true. 2 so far.. Ivanovic and Terry at risk as well.

  51. nipuna - February 27, 2010 at 09:35

    One of Denilson / Ramsey will start in midfield. Arsene hasn’t played Nasri or Eboue or Rosicky in CM this season.

  52. arsesession - February 27, 2010 at 09:31

    DAG – excellent write up!

    All of us have a preferred line-up. For Arsenal to bag anything, we must get contribution from others – unexpected others.

    When we played Stoke earlier, we were missing: Song, Clichy, Eduardo, Bendtner, Diaby, and no Sol.
    Traore had a solid match, overlapping well – serving up some great crosses. Eboue was very effective, but
    most memorable was his blocked Fabregas shot. Cesc failed to convert a penalty. Our offensive movement was excellent. Arshavin scored our 1st goal and Ramsey the 2nd.

    Based on recent form, I’d shuffle the line up to look like:

    • rvp4mvp - February 27, 2010 at 10:27

      i’d like traore instead of clichy and walcott instead of sagna with eboue shifting to rb.

      • arsesession - February 27, 2010 at 11:06

        I like Traore (also), wouldn’t have a problem with Eboue at RB (either)…..

        Theo has been disappointing; at the start of the season I was hoping to see his game develop to higher level over the season, but the injuries have collared his growth.

        Would like to see him have a terrific match!

  53. OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 06:41

    I see this as one of the top 3 toughest games from those that we have remaining (in the league). I won’t be happy with a point, but I think I would begrudgingly accept it. That said, I think I’ll wait and judge the two teams’ performances before deciding on what I think of the result. We do need to perform in these tough games, we haven’t quite done so this season, and that needs to change if we want to keep that outside shot at the title alive. We definitely have the potential to win. Convincingly even. But it will be tough and I hope the ref doesn’t let the home team run riot on Cesc et al.

    Hopefully City can do us a favour against Chelsea beforehand.

    • nipuna - February 27, 2010 at 08:18

      I read the City have an aweful record at the Bridge.

      • DaAdminGooner - February 27, 2010 at 08:35

        There is probably a joke in there somewhere. I’d settle for a draw in that one.

        • nipuna - February 27, 2010 at 08:52

          I am not very confident this week.

          ManU have already beaten West Ham and I think Chelsea will beat City. So there will be a lot of pressure on us.

          • OziKenyan - February 27, 2010 at 11:14

            West Ham didn’t put up as much of a fight as I had hoped. City leading 2-1 at the moment. And Chelsea looking quite impotent. Let’s hope it stays that way.. And that Terry and every other player on the pitch gets sent off.

  54. nipuna - February 27, 2010 at 04:40

    Love the first part where Arsenal are working with kids in Chernobyl. Yey!! This is something to be very proud of.

  55. nipuna - February 27, 2010 at 04:35

    Does it make sense to make statements like this before the game?

    If we concede (yet again) from a throw in today …

    I will happily take a draw today, although I am not sure if that will be enough in the long run.


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Founder, editor, writer, designer of When he’s not following the Arsenal,he’s busy coaching various age groups the right way to play the beautiful game

I am neurotic. Well, Arsenal tends to do that to you and due to this maddening love affair I have with this team across the sea, I rise and fall like everyday (given our current state some times more than 5 times a day.) I love this team and hope it comes through even slightly with this blog.

If I am not here blogging away, I am either working or writing coaching sessions. All in all, I'm loving it. UTA!

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