150 Comments

Stoked About Stoke

A guest post from @anicoll5.
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I can remember few games in which we found the opposition performance so tepid and toothless, in football terms at least. I can remember few Sunday afternoons during which, from the first peep of the referees whistle the game was so tilted in our direction and the result was never in doubt. It is untypical for me, and I suspect I was not the only one yesterday, to be not just glancing at my watch midway through the second half but wondering whether the battery had failed.
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But let us be clear my Sunday sojourn was not the result of the opponents arriving at the Ems as a bad side. This is the same Stoke who beat us fair and square at the Britannia a month ago and made us look very ordinary that day. This is the same Stoke who have won at the Etihad, the Lane and run Manchester’s second side ragged at Trafford Park since September. I anticipated a difficult afternoon, I really did. 
 
No this almost entirely one sided contest was the result of our mastery, I shall say that word again loudly for dramatic effect MASTERY  of every aspect of the game from first to last.
 
Santi, Tomas and the Ox fizzed, buzzed, clipped, probed and punished. Le Coq was entirely tidy, stayed up right and negated any threat through the middle. A more complete midfield performance is difficult to think of. Creativity in a spiral of energy. Was Bojan on the field yesterday ?
 
Our full backs, all three of them were excellent going forward and resolute on the back foot. Monreal looks twice the player who started the season. And our centre backs made Crouch and Walters look amateur for 90 minutes.
 
Ospina’s two ‘saves’ I suppose kept the man awake in what for him was probably quite a disappointing PL debut. With so little to do it was not a stage to show his wares to best effect. What he did do however he did well.
 
And that brings up on to our attacking pair of Giroud and Sanchez. Olivier had a fine game and will be disappointed not to be among the scorers. For Alexis the superlatives are just about exhausted. Another MotM performance from the Chilean. Even if everyone else had just about settled for the 3-0 he was still at it in the final two minutes winning a ball on the edge of the Arsenal box and haring off up field with it to set up Theo. It is not a question of what is in his batteries it is a question of what is in his head !
 
Because I am of a sporting disposition I invariably try to say something at least conciliatory about the opposition. It is a weakness I know but there we are. At the outset Stoke I think came with the notion of trying to play football. After the first goal went in, and Begovic was keeping them in the game, they recognised that would not work and turned petulant and nasty. When that did not work they gave up. Accordingly, and other than their keeper, I can give them no kind word. They may not have arrived a bad side but sure as Hell they left the Ems as one. Diminished, flattened, embarassed. 
 
A solid few days of hard work in prospect before the contest at the Etihad. These are the games to enjoy our treasure. To prepare ourselves for the contest, to renew our commitment to the club, to this exceptional group of players and our manager I attach below a suitable text for Positivistas to reflect upon this week;
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24
 
 
 Toodle-Oo for now
 

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150 comments on “Stoked About Stoke

  1. the mirror is reporting that Man City signing Bony will see Sagna de-listed from their CL squad. If true I’d have no sympathy for him

    Liked by 2 people

  2. arsenal are bound to be linked to Newcastle’s Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, now that Roma have cancelled his loan deal, one game short of triggering a permanent £5M deal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What ist dis Moaners to which you refer?:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw9-zlVp0uM

    Liked by 1 person

  4. edu, they seem to drop points anytime they start him.

    Like

  5. It’s amazing that Arsenal FC telephone around to the press and media bloggers all their secret negotiation business.
    They were on the inside track alright when we signed Benzema.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. DC’s weekend football accumulator
    QPR-Utd: score draw 2-2
    NUFC – S’ton: Home win 1-0
    Swans vs Chelsea: no score draw 0-0
    Villa vs Pool: home win 2-1
    Totts Vs S’lun: home win 2-0

    Like

  7. “One game short of triggering permanent £5million deal”

    I bet Mike Ashley’s face is a picture

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It already is. Anicoll.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I thought Arsene was going to burst out laughing when he seemed to suggest only a defender was on our target list, the cheeky smile was back !!! 😀 – this is a picture of Arsene and not a banned smily face

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Arsenal freeze ticket prices for next season, and still the whingers complain about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Marvellous game football innit ?

    I was particularly struck by the Villa manager Paul Lambert pleading with fans not to protest at tomorrow’s game against Liverpool. Apparently the fans intend to not watch the first eight minutes of the game in protest against Randy Lerner’s eight years of unsatisfactory ownership of the club, as they see it.

    Managers pleading with fans not to protest – WTF is that all about ?

    IF Lerner had any intention of attending you might just understand the logic, but no, Randy will not be there.

    Anyway in spite the fact I would prefer to see Liverpool beaten I hope the protest goes ahead – and by the time the miserable Brummie tossers troop in at 3.08 with their bin bags and banners the Scousers are 4-0 up.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It has to be admitted that I have made the occasional comment concerning the diminutive physiques of some if not most of our midfield players.

    I have also said that there is nothing wrong with small gifted players, whatever their playing position, but like everything in life (it’s too late in death) there needs to be balance.

    You may gather from this as I judiciously skirt around what may be an unpalatable view to some, that we have, in my opinion, simply tipped that balance too far. Now I repeat, it is but a personal opinion and I have no statistical data to back it up, and neither would I dream of arguing with Arsene if he should ever invite me around for a beer, and told me I was gravely mistaken, or even just ‘phoned me and told me I was a plonker – obviously.

    No! I would be too busy picking myself off the floor and wondering if anicoll was tricking me. However, I feel more relaxed with the yet to be definitely confirmed story of our two latest transfer captures of a 17 year old, 6′ 2 1/2″ Polish lad called Bielik, and a 15 year old 6’ 1″ Czech lad called Gracier.

    Of the two youngsters, only one of them is a ‘midfielder’, and the other is a putative striker, but, who knows – he could end up in midfield and so, two things strike me – one; is that they are both tall and physically imposing — far removed from the term ‘diminutive’ and two; Arsene obviously does listen to me – even tho’ he has been a bit skimpy with the beer and/or the telephone call.

    So, if any of you guys have anything you would like me to pass on to my bestest buddy, Arsene, just let me know!! lol

    Liked by 3 people

  13. annicoll at 4:41,

    You are a hard man – and I bet that when you play your 10 y.o. nephews at poker using matchsticks, you keep your winnings!! lol

    Like

  14. Size is a tricky topic H – as the wife often says, or used to say anyway (coughs awkwardly)

    The conventional wisdom, one might so far as common sense, is that you require tall central defenders and most probably a tall, physically imposing midfielder to win the ball, put in crunching tackles and knock the opposition about.

    The difficulty is that not all central defenders are good at their job and two of the very best central defenders of the past few years, Fabio Cannavaro and Roberto Aya;a were shocking little short arses, barely knee high to a bar stool. What they were however able to do is spring like a salmon and time that spring well, and to read the game sufficiently to know exactly where they should be springing.

    Place the same eye glass on combative midfielders and you have one of the best in Gennaro Gattuso and a second in the much unloved but horribly effective Mascherano, the Argie not even 5’8″ high ffs !

    Looking at it another way the number of very tall players who cannot head a ball is epidemic – take Crouch – no really take him.

    I reckon our two young signings are good footballers first and their size may, or may not be a factor when they eventually get a chance to show their mettle.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. A5, It would be better if at 8 minutes past the villians were up by four wonderful goals all missed by the bitching fans.
    Just ARSENAL has an equally whiny piece with the usual crap on it about the world and his wife knowing more than Arsene and How he and the board should listen to the fans who apparently his wages. I thought the notion of fans paying anybodys wages in this commercial, TV driven PL was long extinct obviously not. To be honest I don’t know why we bother to qualify for the CL.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You could well be right anicoll, and it is difficult to argue against the point you are making and the players you mention – I would go further and say I agree with you.

    However, (have you noticed that polite people preface any apparent difference of opinion with that word) lol – I was not arguing that there should be an absence/removal of smaller players, and I also refute the allegation, some may level at me, that I am size-ist and have a skewed view of things because I a 6′ 6″ myself lol – no, I am simply saying these things need balance, and a surfeit of tall players with an inability to jump, or lacking in skill would be an imbalance in its own right.

    Tall, skilful players, such as [don’t tell the others] Matic, mixed with shorter, skilful players would bring the best attributes from both ‘sizes’.

    ‘Moderation in all things’, as my mum used to say when she saw me eyeing my sisters dinner. lol

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  17. While I find it disappointing to find Positivas embracing such a sizist position I can see the defensive logic behind it. To that end I hope we are able to sign the 6ft 4 inch, classically named and proportioned Virgil van Dijk.

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  18. Henry

    To be fair there about two or three seasons to so long ago where Song and Diaby clocked up about 40 appearances per season. But according to all the arse-plundits AFC have not stocked any tall CMs since “the time of Viera or Silva”.

    If you won’t say nothing I won’t say anything either. Mum’s the word *taps nose*

    One possible reason Chambers might get the nod (geddit!) over Bellerin is for a little bit of extra height against City, though Hector did alright with his headers against Stoke. So, who knows? Not me.

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  19. < there were about two or three seasons not so long ago…40 appearances each per season in CM

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  20. Mike Ashley’s face is not a picture – it’s a horror movie.

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  21. Just glancing at preview headlines in various rags, none of them gives us a chance at Middle Eastlands.
    Why does that give me a warm glow inside?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. i see some of the whingers have fallen for the bullshite mirror headline that says Wenger confirms Bielik will be in the Arsenal squad for tomorrows game, despite the fact that Bielik has not signed yet, and also that all Wenger said was that Bielik will be part of the first team squad. The media know how to stir these crazies up.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Diaby is/was a tremendous talent who has suffered a dreadful series of injuries as a consequence of a criminal ‘tackle’ all those seasons ago.

    I have to suppress my annoyance at the number of lazy (OK, idiotic) comments made about him as if all his injuries are self imposed and he has somehow acted dishonourably by staying at Arsenal. [As if the people I am referring to had the slightest idea of what honourable means.

    In fact his record of appearances over the past few seasons has not been ‘good’ but it has not been that bad either when the injuries are factored in.

    Just for the record;

    Season: Apps:
    2005-06: 12 (3)
    2006-07: 12 (3)
    2007-08: 15 (6)
    2008-09: 24 (8)
    2009-10: 29 (3)
    2010-11: 16 (3)
    2011-12: 4 (4)
    2012-13: 11 (1)
    2013-14: 1 (1)

    Substitute appearances are in brackets.

    I suspect much of the hoo-hah about Diaby centres around the idea that he is getting paid ‘a lot of money’ for non-appearances.

    In fact, there is a distinct possibility that he has been paid a salary based only on appearances, not the full whack, and even so it is normal practise for football clubs to insure their players (who are valuable assets after all), as a consequence, some or all of their salaries which have been paid out while they are injured, as well as the consequential loss, associated with the termination of the contract of a valuable player through injury, will be covered too.

    Ah, well — checking the facts is obviously a nuisance, and does not necessarily suit the agendas of those trying to damn the manager and his ‘financial incompetence’ thru’ the supposedly ‘lenient’ treatment of Abou.

    Anyway, Diaby’s current contract expires this summer, and altho I hope he makes a miraculous recovery, I suspect that Arsene will look hard at whether About can continue, or not.

    Well here’s one blogger, at least, who wishes the guy all the very best!!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. All your comments on Diaby ring true to me Henry, his contract that expires on 30/6/15 was signed at the end of a season in which he had played frequently and played well. At the time fans were pleased that he was signed up and Abou’s recovery from the Smith tackle was (apparently as it turned out) complete.

    The notion that one side can just tear up or vary a contract just cos it suits them is laughable, right up with the witless demanding that we ‘renegotiate’ our sponsorship with Emirates in mid contract.

    Is it coincidence that Eboue, Gervinho and Diaby have not just their status as prime targets of the Boo Boys but skin colour in common ?

    I do hope so although to be fair to the Scarfists and bin naggers you could probably add an apparent hatred to bald white Frenchmen if Cygan is included !

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi anicoll,

    I don’t know the demography of those who are so strident in their demands, but I suspect there are manifold reasons, encompassing alleged monetary concerns, the compositions of the CL and EPL squads, and other matters all aimed ultimately to demonstrate the lack of competence of Arsene.

    It has to be accepted, that some of the fans, who bitterly and forthrightly complain, are quite genuine in their perceptions of the ills of the Arsenal management (I know one or two) and that is unfortunately a consequence of the society we live in, so that the ‘my rights’ [and sod the responsibilities] culture is so prevalent they can see nothing wrong in demanding that we win x, y and z, trophies, without any thought to the uphill task that confronts Arsenal when facing the profligate spending of the Chavs and Citeh and no doubt Manure in the near future.

    i want to win everything too — but even a lummox like me can understand why that is so difficult to achieve, whoever the manager might be — and let’s face it, if we did not have Arsene our chances would be a big fat zero.

    Naturally, I have been told, on various other blogs, when I have expressed that opinion, that I have been brainwashed into accepting the status quo, or that I am deluded and/or stupid — and who am I to deny any of that? lol

    Liked by 1 person

  26. all results went against us today, Chelsea, Man Utd, Tottnum, Liverpool all won

    Liked by 1 person

  27. What do Eboue, Gervinho, Diaby and Song before them have in common? Maybe it is better that we bury our heads like ostriches.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Matt Macey made his league debut today for Accrington Stanely, lost 3-0

    Like

  29. Queen’s Oark Rangers are just the poster boys for useless, overpaid, overhyped twats. Just the perfect counterpoint to the critics of Wenger’s refusal to splash the cash for over-hyped, over expensive players of dubious quality.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. our U18’s and U16’s are on a run of bad results, U18’s have not won in 9 and the U16’s have not won in 8, both teams started the season very well and the whingers were telling anyone who would listen that they had been right about Steve Gatting not being good enough as a manager, and that these dutch coaches were so much better, I wonder what they think now, Gatting’s U21’s are doing very well.

    The one thing the whingers don’t take into account in regards these teams, is that Arsenal tend to play lads above their age group, meaning our best U18’s don’t actually play for the U18’s, instead they play for the U21’s and our best U16’s play for the U18’s, and even if they are better players than their opponents the two and three year age gap makes a massive difference, but Arsenal deem this the best way for players progression.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. anyone watch the Burnley v Crystal Palace game, I only ask cos I seen some of our whingers having a go about how poorly Sanogo played, things like he is out of his depth, useless etc was the gist of their views on him, well he played 79 minutes of the game, got booked, and Palace came back from two down to win three two, and this after them being on a run of away games without a goal, maybe Pardew got it right when he said a striker does not have to score to play well, and that Sanogo causes confusion and panic in defences.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Sanogo – another one who was in the sights of the pointy headed bin baggers
    Didn’t see Palace eddy but a very decent win for CP and a few more like that and they will be safe long before the end of the season

    Pardew’s former club also doing well against Saints although both sides’ goals flukes

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  33. i see quotes from agent Barry Silkman saying that if Winston Reid does not sign a new contract with west ham within a week, then he will not be signing one at all, and that Arsenal should move for him

    Like

  34. And now Southampton have won too.
    Talk about pressure.

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  35. latest reports suggest Wilshere is back in light training, he posted a picture of himself kicking a ball today in outdoor training. Wenger did say JW is ahead of time in his recovery, could be back in five or six weeks.

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  36. Inter drew 0-0 today away at empoli, pod played 73 minutes.

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  37. what our best shot to goal striker did not score for 2 games in a row? is it possible?

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  38. a few rumors going around that Joel Campbell is off to Benfica in a £10M deal, Galatasary seemingly interested too.

    Like

  39. this is the sort of shite the whingers are at over the Bielik deal

    “When you’re a big club like Arsenal and the boss says that the cost of a just-turned 17 year old 2M (?) is an “awful lot of money” you’ve got some serious money issues. How could 2M be an “awful lot of money” for Arsenal?”

    really have to despair sometimes at the lack of intelligence this sort of Arsenal fan display.

    Like

  40. I see the idiots are going into meltdown over comments by Wenger about signing a CB, they are going all out on his “We haven’t found anyone.” saying we have had 4 months and he still has not found a target to go for, conveniently ignoring the fact that wenger clearly stated we have found targets as he said we have spoken to clubs, by saying “Of course we have made enquiries”, but he stated the obvious “who wants to sell their best players”, he also said clubs have basically said they don’t want to sell now but “come back in June or July and maybe yes”

    so we have asked clubs about CB’s, and so far none are willing to sell. but meltdown by the whingers and total misrepresentation of what Wenger has said and the meaning of what he said, but nothing new there then.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. One other quote of Wenger’s that they are losing their shit over is “we could cope without signing a centre-back”

    again they are ignoring his follow up quote “It’s risky. It’s too risky.”

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  42. Wenger asked if Arsenal can survive without signing a CB: “We can; we have Mertesacker, Koscielny, Chambers & Monreal who play there.”

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  43. Wenger: buying a defender? “It’s not a supermarket where you go in and buy a defender, it’s a market that is very restricted”

    what a deluded old fool, does he not know its like FM, want a player, pay whatever it costs and he is yours, if he fails just buy another one at what ever it costs

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  44. so after tomorrow’s game we only have one league game left in this transfer window

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  45. oh the irony, as a manager he won 1 game and lost 5 of his six in charge of Sunderland, as chairman the highest sunderland finishes was 10th in the FAPL, he should stick to selling his broadband in Africa

    Niall Quinn: “Arsene likes to achieve value in transfer deals, but I wish the board would tell him there’s times when you have to overspend”

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  46. seemingly the bannerwankers will be seeking attention at the game tomorrow,

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  47. George, can you reblog my post today so it goes onto NewsNow………. I want to get the thoughts of other supporters………. I want a debate!

    http://wp.me/p4FeF9-oA

    Like

  48. so Szczesny asks to do extra training and gets to do it with Tony Roberts the U21 and youth team goalie coach and the Sun turns this into “Szczesny gets punished for smoking” story. And what makes it worse is our fool fans fall for it.

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  49. Eduardo – Your posts describing fan reaction about buying a CD and the Szczęsny is another nail in the coffin of those who believe gooners are some unique specie.

    Like

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