A meeting with Stoke City will generally bring out everyone’s emotions on and off the pitch, and Saturday’s match at the Britannia will be no different. From their physical and direct play, to Arsenal’s poor record there, it’s almost a guarantee to be an eventful 90 minutes. But, I’m not entirely sure I can deal with another chaotic match as we saw against Leicester City. Don’t get me wrong, the outcome was brilliant, but getting there nearly gave me a heart attack.
With just two wins from their last 10 appearances there, it’s more than obvious that Arsenal struggles away to the Potters.
If their most recent performance against Stoke City is any indication, we should see a high scoring match. Sure, we know that putting the ball in the net is possible, but can they limit opponents from doing the same?
For the sake of my Saturday, I sure hope that’s the case. Nothing worst than having a sh*t result ruin your weekend, especially away to Stoke, Mark Hughes, and god damn Peter Crouch. The fact that he scored that clear handball against us last season made me dislike him even more. I dare you to try that sh*t again! This time, Sead the Tank will be there to make you pay the price.
Le Prof’s History Lesson
Predicting Arsenal’s Future
Part of being an Arsenal supporter requires emotional pain and suffering, and the match against Leicester was proof of that. If there’s another fixture that could equally rip our heart out, drag it through the mud, and then perfectly put it back in place, it’s a visit to the Britannia. I’m not entirely sure what it is about those white and red stripped kits, or the atmosphere, but whatever it is, hopefully the last performance there relieved some pressure.
Arsenal’s visit there in May saw the Gunners create a number of opportunities, with Giroud scoring twice, capped off with additional goals from Alexis and Ozil.
This time around, Alexis won’t be part of the festivities, or at least we hope it’s a festive mod after the final whistle.
I personally don’t forsee many changes in the squad, but then I remember that Arsene Wenger is the manager, and he just loves himself a surprise. So, what does that mean?
Well, at the back, Mertesacker is back in the squad as is Mustafi. That could mean that if he sticks with three at the back, it’s very possible we see a partnership of Holding, Mustafi and Monreal. A twist in the predictions could see Mertesacker come in to replace Holding, who wasn’t terrible against Leicester, but he certainly had some questionable moments on and off the ball. Then again, did anyone wearing an Arsenal kit against Leicester have a good defensive performance?
For the wing backs, I’m still a believer that Kolasinac should be on the left, and Ox on the right, but again, not convinced that’s going to happen. Seeing as Sead is the enforcer, and offers the side some physicality, this fixture has his name written all over it. Go on Sead, run these guys over. They’ve done it to us for years, now, it’s our turn.
Pulling the strings in the center of the park is where I’d prefer to not see any changes, at least right now, but, it’s almost certain to happen.
Elneny and Xhaka have formed a solid partnership over the last two matches. When one goes forward, the other stays. Elneny does the running, and Xhaka drops and keeps the shape. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it actually does, at least for now. The problem is that we all know Wenger has a secret obsession with Aaron Ramsey, therefore, the likelihood of the Welshman replacing Elneny in the starting XI is very good. Maybe he’ll totally prove me wrong?
At the front is where I think we’ll see another surprise, if that’s what you want to call it.
As I said, and as we all know, Stoke City will bully you for 90 minutes, and even longer if the match official allows them to. Does competing against strength with strength cancel it out? Possibly, not always, but that’s likely what will happen.
Lacazette offers a new dynamic to the offense. He is capable of taking on defenders, he can hold up play, he has the body to be physical, and he is able to drop deep to win the ball back. The one thing you likely don’t want him to be doing is challenging opposing defenders for headers in the box. Sure, he scored a header against Leicester, but he didn’t even have to jump. I’m talking about put the ball in the box, and have someone to battle Shawcross, Indi, or even Zouma.
Olivier Giroud has proven he’s capable of doing that, which is why I think Wenger will opt to start him in place of Danny Welbeck.
That will allow Arsenal to play three across the front with Lacazette, Giroud and Ozil, similar to what we saw against Leicester, but now we have a bit more of a physical presence in the final third.
Again, for all I know, he could decide to keep Giroud as a super-sub, and not change the front three that started against Leicester.
Either way, regardless of who starts, they better make it a long afternoon for Jack Butland and company.
I’ve seen a lot of talk about how Stoke City has the most Champions League winning players in their squad of any other team in the Premier League. Guess what, who the fu&k cares?! Chelsea has a number of Premier League winning players in their squad, how’d that work out for them against Burnley? Ha, too soon?
Similar to last week, Arsenal should control the pace of the match, but, it’s very possible they could allow Stoke City one chance and get fu&ked. That’s the Arsenal way right?
I’m going to predict another stressful 90 minutes, but Arsenal’s offensive options will prevail. Scoring first will relax the team, Lacazette will grab another goal, and, Crouch will NOT score. Hoping for another quiet day on the group chat. Can’t give the lads an opportunity to ruin my weekend.
Stoke City 1-3 Arsenal
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