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July 2021

Arsenal – Stoke: some bloody team!

Dominic Sanchez-Cabello

So, the good form continues, our ‘downward spiral’ seems to have subsided and Stanford Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.

In life, I wish only the worst for Stoke. That philosophy almost changed with the sacking of Pulis. But I can’t stand Hughes either, nor am I confident in his inclination to change things. So, my feelings on Stoke probably haven’t changed all that much – shall let you know on Sunday evening.

Watching them at Anfield earlier this season, I was encouraged when they began by passing the ball, the surprise also rippled across the away section as they sang: “we’re passing the ball! | we’re passing the ball-aall…”

Liverpool started to control the game and invariably Stoke changed tack: passes lengthened, the midfield stiffened and Walters was left to run merciless amounts. The problem was, not that they played this way – that was fair enough; it was that this tactical change almost allowed them to pinch a draw.

Consequently, what had started quite positively reverted to old ways as soon as it was convenient and they were nearly gratified for doing so. A bit like a drunkard who realises that despite people’s advice, life after a few whiskeys has its virtues!

And that’s the thing: Stoke are a more effective team when they play their way. So it’ll take a few seasons of tinkering with their squad before they can alter their identity hugely. But so far it has been positive, pass completion is up and they’re now averaging 397 passes a game! Sterling work Stoke…

In a strange sort of way, the midweek game against Marseille may have been an ideal warm up for this one. Marseille played well, Valbuena had the game of his life, but what troubled us, particularly in the 1st half was the aggression of their players. Stoke will be similar, just without the control… or Valbuena. We’ll also have the pleasure of playing on a good pitch again.

Is it a coincidence that Ramsey has timed this form to overlap with Stoke at the Emirates? I think not! I’ve even made him captain of my fantasy football team.

I can’t help but think and I know it’s a silly way of looking at things… what would he have been like without that horrendous injury? Perhaps this form would have come last year? At any rate it’s not important, what’s important is that he’s playing the best football of his career – a blend of Cesc’s influence and Flamini’s industry.

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Injury news is good. Our “technical leader”(Arteta) is back, which is great news. Because as much as I like having Napoleon at defensive mid, Arteta is the renaissance midfielder, who does his defending with clean interceptions, marking space, and harassing opponents. The range and swiftness of his passing allows attacks to begin and the game to happen in such a way that one doesn’t even have to defend. Because, if you always have the ball, why do you need a ball winner?

The team as I make it:


        Sagna                 Koz                Mertesacker           Gibbs                                            

                                     Flamini           Ramsey

                    Walcott               Ozil            Wilshere                        



Some bloody team…



54 comments to Arsenal – Stoke: some bloody team!

  • blacksheep63

    To be fair (why?) to Stoke fans I think they have gotten fed up with Pulis’ style of play, especially as last season it began to unravel. They were a bit unlucky against Liverpool. Hughes is on a mission to reestablish his reputation after QPR and he hates us. I expect his team to be combative and uncompromising but if we keep our discipline and play our football we should be fine.
    But yes, some team indeed 🙂

  • Mick

    ‘To be fair (why?) to Stoke fans’
    Why indeed! I dislike the Stoke fans with a vengeance for their despicable booing of Aaron Ramsey since Shawcross broke his leg. I know it is not all of them but it appears to be a large proportion of them and it is absolutely unforgivable.

  • nicky

    Yeah, I’m like you about the Stoke morons. I hope the Emirates will out-noise them this afternoon.
    We have enough power in the side to sort out the thuggery of Shawcross and Huth.
    I have a slight worry over Dean as referee, who no doubt will do his best to see that we don’t win. We will have to play so well that his dubious decisions will have no effect.

  • Pete

    You’ll be hard pressed to find a Stoke fan (us) that doesn’t want the Ramsey v Shawcross debacle to bugger off once and for all. It won’t happen though until one of us sells either or even both of them.

    We ARE playing differently – ask Wet Sham fans – and I guess most will be surprised.

    Can you remind me how long it took Arsenal to transform themselves after the binary George Graham era……..?

  • The font

    Expect 11 men behind the ball lots of fouls we need two goals to open them up if we only get the one
    Hughes will set them up to bombard us for the last 10-12 mins heart in the mouth stuff . If we get the second goal they will have to open up and we will get. Four or five COYG

  • Liam

    It’s not all Stoke fans at all, it’s no different than the few bad apples that every team has, the majority of Stoke fans wish Ramsey well and are glad he’s back and playing well, just because you see a few idiots that support the same team that i do post vile things online or scream vile chants, do not assume that they speak for the majority of our fans, i’m sure you’ve all seen and heard some gooners say questionable things too

  • Tasos

    I’m expecting a difficult afternoon for Arsenal.

    After playing Champions League in midweek, the following Premier League game can test energy and fatigue levels. Alternatively Stoke have had the whole week to rest, recover and prepare.

    Also add into this mix Mark Hughes and his perceived allegiance to the northern mafia, plus his hatred of Arsene Wenger, and when the final ingredient is our nemesis, Mike Dean, My warning signals are on full alert.

    And so I’ve placed some bets today on Arsenal conceding a penalty and/or Arsenal players receiving bookings/sending-off.

  • Ross

    Shawcross should be taught a lesson, and taste his own medicine!

  • traffs

    Arsenal fans continued vile chants and booing of shawcross led to few boos in retaliation for Ramsey. Someday soon wilshere will injure someone with a reckless tackle when he loses his head and we will see how you slaughter him!!!! I didn’t and won’t boo Ramsey good to seeing him playing well again good luck to him

  • Mickeyk

    Come on RAMSEY

  • Matt Clarke

    Thank you Liam for that post.
    Without such conciliation I fear that the average Arsenal fan’s emotional wounds from the Shawcross Incident will take longer to heal than Ramsey’s.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do hope that we are ‘up’ for this one .Lets hope that our crowd cheers the team on to victory . 2-0 to us with all limbs intact .
    Deano , you better be on your best behaviour as we are watching you!
    Hope to see Arteta at some stage to solidify the midfield .
    Up the Gunners !

  • WalterBroeckx

    And suddenly our bench also looks stronger: Vermaelen, Arteta, Monreal, Jenkinson and….Nicklas Bendtner FFS….

  • elkieno

    He starting with Gnabry!!!! Why? Against Stoke, oh man I haven’t seen him play at all really heard heaps but not seen him as of yet.
    Man I don’t like Stoke

  • Matt Clarke

    freekick for us and ref has to count 10 yards out in two lots of five…poor Stoke defenders

  • Matt Clarke

    good goal though 🙂

  • elkieno

    Aaron Fuking Ramsey!!!!!

  • Matt Clarke

    Aaron’s really putting the AR in Arsenal !

  • Matt Clarke

    It looks to me as though the ref behaved quite well for first 7 minutes or so and now is starting to give dodgy decisions in favour of Stoke…

  • Matt Clarke

    dive from Stokee gets a free-kick outside area

  • Matt Clarke

    …straight into wall and cleared

  • Matt Clarke

    1-1 on 25 mins…

  • Matt Clarke

    Shawcross tries to change shirts with Giroud and gets free-kick only…Yellow for that?

  • Matt Clarke

    ..ha ha Giroud gets last laugh there…2:1 via Kos

  • Matt Clarke

    ..although Mertes may claim it

  • Matt Clarke

    ..some brave ‘keeping saves a third

  • elkieno

    Pretty quiet I must say..

  • Matt Clarke

    Half time. Six Arsenal goals due in the second half.

  • Matt Clarke

    Kos dinae touch it – so second goal to Mertes

  • Matt Clarke

    2nd Half.
    Gnabry lets fly again…on target this time. He is gaining in confidence as the game progresses.

  • Matt Clarke

    Gnabry nobbled

  • Matt Clarke

    Thug gets Yellow

  • Matt Clarke

    Giroud laments another missed chance…I hope that our boys there keep behind him, as Stoke are beginning to crumble.

  • Matt Clarke

    good header from Jack gives Ozil a chance from wide but ‘keeper has it covered

  • colario

    Wiltshire kicked out off a game again!

  • Matt Clarke

    maybe ‘crumble’ was the wrong word. More like rumble. We need to recover midfield dominance and take chances. Come On You Arsenal!

  • Matt Clarke

    Wilshere sandwich…no cards waved :s

  • Matt Clarke


  • Matt Clarke

    Sagna 🙂

  • Matt Clarke

    Ryo and MonreaL ON
    Sadly Jack and ??? have to go off.

  • Matt Clarke

    and Jermaine Pennant tread the Arsenal turf once more

  • Matt Clarke

    And so it ends 3:1.

    Well, not the 8 goals that I has hoped for but a tidy win all the same.

    Bravo to our Defence – they did their job and scored twice.

    Stoke played more attractive football than they have for a long time and Nzonzi & Campbell, particularly, looked…well, intelligent. Hmmm. Mark Hughes still behaves like a git though. He hasn’t changed even if he has changed Stoke a bit.

    Ref was not entirely fair but certainly nowhere near as bad as feared. (I say that with shins intact, Jack, Giroud and Arteta may feel less sanguine).

  • Sammy The Snake

    Ramsey is a man on fire. Great game by the Gunners.

  • Matt Clarke

    Yup, and goals from set pieces too…good to see.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well done to the team and again Aaron Ramsey. Wlishere looked completely unprotected by the ref again. Hope he is ok. But for now at least, despite injuries refs and doom mongers, TOTL!

  • Sammy The Snake

    That’s the fourth 3-1 scoreline we have been involved in 5 games.

    And it feels great to be on top. No team can catch us till next week. 🙂

  • bjtgooner

    Great result and three more valuable points. I thought the ref (diabolical Dean) allowed far too many fouls – we should be able to expect better, but thanks to Riley and the PGMOL we have been conditioned to seeing poor refereeing almost every match.

    But, a very satisfying win and many good individual performances. Well done guys!

  • Ozil had 2 (and a half) assists in the game. Already leading the EPL assists table with 3 assists despite playing 60% less games.

    Today’s game kind of looked like the NLD. Arsenal had less possession but led in every other area. Although, they crowd around our third of the pitch (just like Tottenham did), they produced nothing as our defence stood firm and most of Szczezy’s saves were routine. We are back atop the table!

    This is effective football and I’m loving it!

  • Sammy the snake,

    Don’t jinx it dude 🙂 Tottenham will top the table with at least a 3 goal margin win.

    Here is to a great day for Cardiff!

  • Mick

    Fantastic hard fought win, we were not at our fluent best but how good to see that we can score from set pieces, especially satisfying as it was against Stoke. You could say we out Stoked Stoke!
    Dean could have been better but he could have been a hell of a lot worse.
    Nice to see Stoke attempting to play some passing football instead of lumping it upfield on every occasion, and not a long throw in sight. They are still the masters of shirt pulling and wrestling though!
    Finally chaps, do you not think it is now time to draw a line under the Shawcross/Ramsey interclub feud? With Pullis gone maybe a new chapter should be allowed to start.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Sp@rs have only scored 4 so far, I hope they won’t get 3 in one! 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    please remind us who was the one breaking the other player his leg? yep Shawcross. He deserves every boo till the retires.
    Ramsey never deserved any booing at all. From nobody. So you started booing the victim and I think if you wouldn’t have done this it would have stopped probably.

    The only bad behaviour in this incident has come from Stoke. By breaking his leg and by booing him for having the guts to come back after one of yours (your captain) tried to end his career.

  • Strus

    What a important win! Top of the table almost certain.
    Other teams are under pressure, when they play today, and next week too.
    Comfortable win with so many injured players, almost the same 11 played 3rd match in 8 days. And how they played.. take a bow!
    Let’s give them rest at WBA, we don’t have many youngsters to play in first squad besides Akpom, Gnabry, Haiden,injured Zelalem and maybe Olsson.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not sure at all about dean today. As ever I defer to the refs on here but looked like he let a lot go on amongst others giroud. And we all know what an injury to him means for us