So today we travel to Stoke, a place where it seems we are destined to be embroiled in some narrative or other. From the moment this northern club with a reverence of physical courage and graft came to the Premier League, I guess it was obvious that it would be played-off against this southern club of dishonest, tricky foreigners.
Almost 4 years to the day and Ramsey’s leg break is still as relevant as it ever was.
Martin Samuel’s column a day after it happened pretty much articulated my views on the subject. It was one of the few pieces of mainstream journalism that bothered to delve deeper than the “he’s a nice guy…” narrative and also to acknowledge the dated attitudes in British football.
A quick Google search couldn’t tell you much about Shawcross’ character as a person, but it could tell you about pretty much everything else. The same people telling you “He’s not that type of player” were a single Google search from finding that “he is exactly that type of player”. Be it: Francis Jeffers in 2007, Adebayor when he wasn’t even on the pitch and if you care to look, even a video from his time in Belgium…
My 96-year-old Nan (bless her) is a lovely person, but that doesn’t make her any more suited to driving a car. Shawcross might well be a good person, but he is awful at tackling.
Anyway that’s enough of that. Rants are the medium of choice when discussing Stoke it seems.
Today will be a hard game; it always bloody is. We know how they treat this game and the quality they do have.
The injury front is looking good and bad. Ozil and Vermaelen are back, but Monreal is doubtful.
The team may look a little like this:
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Sagna Mert Koz Verm/Monreal
Rosicky Ozil Chamberlain
Short one again, I’m afraid – I’ll make it up to you though!
2-1 Away Win.