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July 2021

Arsenal Vs The Premier League’s Rugby Team

Arsenal Vs The Premier Leagues Rugby Team

By Miles Rackham

Firstly fellow Arsenal fans, we are not in a crisis. Ok so we drew with Sunderland, but, they are a strong team, and I personally think they have a great manager, and they are going to have some good results this season, so I think that this is a good result for us really. First team to beat City last year, so just remember that.

One player that has been on the tips of every Arsenal fans tongues is Santi Cazorla. One world sums up his début, and that word, is ‘WOW’.   He dominated that final third throughout the game, and if you have a look at his stats of that game, you will see that he made seventy seven passes, around only thirteen in our half, and misplaced only six. Impressive statistics for a player on his Premier League début against a tough team to play.

He had three chances that were all unlucky in the sense they didn’t go in. He has been said to play like Pires and Ljungberg, and that he could be a major asset in our campaign to win a trophy for the first time in seven years. If he plays again in the same fashion, not just against Stoke, but every single game he plays in for Arsenal, then we have some bright days ahead.

Podolski played is first competitive game for Arsenal as well against Sunderland. He was said to be the player that we should be watching, although he has started a tad slowly. I am still convinced that he is an extremely talented player, and the reason he started slowly and then was substituted, is because he will still not one hundred per cent fit. That is said to be over now though, so he should be able to play with the same class he did in the Euro’s and previously for Cologne; the class that attracted Arsenal to acquire his services. He is rumoured to be deployed against Stoke on the left, and should be played in a front three with Giroud and either Walcott or Gervinho.

We have lost out in the race to sign Real Madrid Nuri Sahin on loan, although there are rumours that Liverpool have to pay around 10 – 12 million in the loan deal, so it is a good thing we got out of it, in my opinion. We have been told that we are only going to sign ‘special’ players, but more on loan than permanent deals. This is promising signs for Arsenal, maybe not for the Stoke game, although possibly for the Liverpool game.

Stoke’s last game was against Championship Champions Reading. Stoke played the game well, and it was just a last minute penalty for Reading that won them a point against a tough team.

Our last few games against Stoke have been tough ones. Four wins, one draw and one defeat in the last six.    We have been troubled by one element in the Stoke game: the long throw. I hate that cursed long throw! They are a tall, bullying team, that have been compared to a Rugby League team. We have conceded over ten goals from their long throw from Delap, with usually Fuller scoring the goal after a mix up in defence.  This is something that Bould has been told to deal with. This is the only way I can see a team like Stoke scoring against us, and we have got to cut this out for future games, as Stoke aren’t the only team that pump the ball into the area and try and score a header.

Although, there is one thing that can help Arsenal, and all teams that play against Stoke: New pitch rules regarding the size of the pitch and the length between the advertising boards and the pitch. Stoke have been using the minimum size the pitch is allowed to be, but new UEFA regulations have forced them to increase the size of the pitch. This was why the players throw ins went further on their pitch than other teams’.

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This will help Arsenal, as the ball is less likely to go as deep in to the area as they previously they have, and hopefully, it will only reach the centre backs in the area, allowing them to head it out, will allow players like Cazorla to begin a break.

As we haven’t added to our team since our game against Sunderland, so the first team seems to be easier to predict, although where and how they play is still a mystery.


Jenkinson   Mertersacker   Vermaelen    Gibbs

Diaby   Arteta


Walcott   Giroud   Podolski

This may not be the strongest possible team we have, and if we don’t sign anyone, then the only changes subsequently could be Rosicky and Wilshere in the team. I predict, again, that the result will be 3-1, as I can’t see us holding out for a clean sheet, but if we deal with those throw ins, then it will be 3-0, or maybe even 4-0.

If we do win, it will be a great result for us, and a great way to begin September. I hope we do sign players, Tiote from Newcastle and Jesus Navas from Seville would be the best players we are linked with, although I can’t see us signing them on loan.

But there is one other problem: the referee.  If you have not read it before, take a look at the Referee Review for Stoke last season.  It is truly frightening.

Lets see if we can do it, I really hope we do, come on Arsenal!


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24 comments to Arsenal Vs The Premier League’s Rugby Team

  • Mr Wenger said in his press conference that Oxlade-Chamberlain is fit, and I would think he might start instead of Diaby – or come on as the first sub. If he is truly fit he has the sort of physical presence that could disturb Stoke.

    What’s more Stoke are the sort of team that could well target Diaby knowing his injured past, and this early in the season might not be the time for Diaby to take on that fight, especially given the record of referees in Stoke matches.

  • bjtgooner

    Nice review Miles. I like the team you have nominated and I agree with Giroud in the center of the attack and also having Diaby in midfield – against the rugby team we need all the tall players that we can fit on the pitch.

    I am confident in this new look team, although I would prefer them to be in the middle of a good run of form when they have to face the rugbys.

    I am pleased that the pitch will be a bit bigger this time, is it possible to identify the size reduction Pulis was using last season?

  • Zigzag

    I would play Gervinho in place of Walcott as he can take on defenders and dribble round them, something Walcott is not particularly good at. Ox is obviously another excellent option. This is the time when we can miss Song or someone like M’Villa or Capoue, someone with more of a physical presence. Our arguably best midfield of Arteta, Wilshire and Casorla, as brilliant as they are, would look like a band of hobitts here. Anyway, hope we smash the mordor army to pieces tomorrow. COYG!

  • Matt Clarke

    Thanks Miles.

    I think that Bould’s influence will certainly help against the Potties.

    (And, I miss Song for this one (especially) and remain perplexed as to why he went (although I have read the DDD & overloaded midfield arguments)).

    You always need a good referee against thugs…let us hope.

  • leeroysgooners

    And Guess Who’s Our Ref Tomorrow Mr Stoke Lover Lee Mason Jokes Jokes Joke…..

  • americangooner

    stoke can and will be a rugby team. its the way they play. no one can tell them how they should play. ofcourse its not pretty to watch any stoke game. its their tactics. the important thing is how arsenal are gonna play their tactics. if arsenal can focus on passing and creating chances with fierce and with greater frequency than we could break their gameplan.

  • nicky

    For those of us (a majority, I suspect) who will watch the game on TV, I hope that Arsenal FC will have the sense to have the player’s name on each away shirt…unlike those worn in the Cologne game, a frustrating omission.

  • Zgooner

    Let’s choke Stoke.

  • please do not start with diaby. Ox chamberline is there. if you play diaby, its a loose match. tx

  • mickess

    Although we have to play a rugby team and fight against the referee and fourth official there is one plus point that may help us a little. And that is the new rule K21 in the premier league handbook which reads: “Unless otherwise permitted by the Board, in League Matches the length
    of the pitch shall be 105 metres and its breadth 68 metres.”
    This means that all teams in the premier league this year will have the same size pitch as at the Emirates. The only exception being if it is not possible to comply such as at QPR. Stoke have more than enough width so I will be interested to see if they have complied with the new regulation. Last season Stokes pitch was 64 metres wide so Mr Delap et al will have to throw an extra 2 metres so giving us a better chance to intercept. It just might make the difference.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I agree with you about that there is no crisis. Last week the only thing we did wrong was..we just didn’t score.

  • Mahdain

    Nothing is gonna make me happier than kicking the shit out of this pathetic excuse of a club. Words cant describe just how much i hate that pathetic excuse of a club and after reading what their total twat of a manager had to say i say my desire for seeing us mauling these grade A twats have increased even more…as Andre Santos would say Go Gunners

  • Miles we”ve only beaten them once they always score against us and we struggle with there style of play.But after predicting 0-0 and the re-emergence of Torres, and this streak must end at some point, plus we need to score, 2-1 to us.

  • Pad Gooner

    I agree with Mahdain. When stoke is playing rugby why are you playing passing football that too when refs collectively prefer rugby over football. Just kick some *** and remove one important player of stoke.

  • createstrain

    i would love to have a in form jack for this game. we all saw what he did to zigic (rightfully so imo) and he’s as big as they come. so stoke wouldnt faze him. and the amount of core work cazorla does i would guess he’s a lot tougher than his size would suggest. plus jack once said that playing against arteta was one of his toughest opponents.

    stokes’ physicality would work to there disadvantage as those three would have them chasing shadows.

    so i would opt for the ox, if fully fit. though if he’s trying to build familiarity then i guess it would be abou. i just hope he can last at least till jack is in form.

    two from girooooo, long range from cazorla, pod rocket and a clean sheet please. thanx.

  • Sav from Australia

    @Pad Gooner
    Arsenal players can’t retaliate and do unto Stoke as Stoke does unto them.
    The referees are biased and they will take the opportunity to penalise Arsenal.

  • Good post, Miles, thanks.

    “…he has the sort of physical presence that could disturb Stoke.”

    “This is the time when we can miss Song or someone like M’Villa or Capoue… Arteta, Wilshire and Casorla, as brilliant as they are, would look like a band of hobitts here.”

    Interesting that these specific comments are coming on the back of yesterday’s post “Consider a mid-field…”, which contained a few replies bemoaning the lack of a quality DM (my own comments included).

    As regards this Stoke game, it’s pity that Frimpong is still not ready to step up to this level.
    Coquelin to play? A question not a prediction (note!). Whilst not suggesting he should, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Wenger were to select him to actually start.

    Agreed on your view regarding Diaby.

    “Last week the only thing we did wrong was..we just didn’t score.”
    Agreed 50% – we also didn’t create (clear) chances. Other than for Giroud’s opportunity, that is.

  • FinnGun

    The Tots are in crisis…

  • Persian gunner

    Any comments for this guy’s first goal for evils?
    It is really annoying!

    There was this dialog on House MD TV show from a patient who was also a champ on bicycle riding:
    a man came to me with a picture to sign and he said: my son worships you, what should I say, sir! I am an ordinary guy who can ride a bike well, and you and your son are out of your minds!?

    Are we out of our minds to worship these players?
    Do they hardly ever care?

  • @Persian gunner
    I worshipped Joe Baker ’til he was sold in ’66.
    I was only 12 years old, though.
    However, I would be tempted to kiss Tony Adams’ feet, even today, if I were to meet him.

    I sort of worshipped Billy Fury (early ’60s), ’til I realised perhaps I was turning a bit girly or gay.

  • Following my “Coquelin non-prediction” at 5.55am…
    This I believe will be WENGER’s team, vs Stoke today.


    Jenkinson Mertersacker Vermaelen Gibbs

    Coquelin Arteta


    Walcott Giroud Podolski

    Coquelin as Defensive midfielder
    Arteta as Holding/Creative midfielder
    Cazorla as Creative midfielder

    ALMOST identical to Miles’ lineup, but thinking along the same lines as Tony, leaving out Diaby.

    Theo gets the nod over Ox, due to experience, and of course Theo’s ongoing contract talks(!)
    Podolski over Gervinho, due to extra physical presence.

    Bench: Fabianski; Djourou; Santos; Diaby; Ramsey; Ox-Chamberlain; Arshavin

  • Persian gunner

    @Big Al
    But it really hearts, I mean when fabregas left the club you could see that “shame” or sadenees in his face, time to time, but this guy!!! He acts just like he joints Unds from Ajax or somewhere!
    I wonder if they act like “professional” employees and change their “job” opportunities for higher wages, so why we are injuring our throats and souls?!

  • @Persian gunner

    Your last line at 7.39am
    “Do they hardly ever care?”

    Answer, NO.
    And I understand exactly where you’re coming from, and agree.

  • @FinnGun guess what the news whore lists would be sayin now,relegation,wenger out but as of now its as if nothing is happening to the tots .Giroud and poldoski to score their first games.