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Stoke v. Arsenal


Britannia Stadium



A devastated Arsenal travels north to Stoke City for this weekends Barclay's Premier League match. After what can only be described as a humiliating and disgraceful meltdown in the last two minutes midweek versus Tottenham Hotspur, the squad must pick up the pieces and put them back together quickly, because any dropped points against Stoke will spell even more trouble for Arsenal's rapidly diminishing title hopes for this season.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger talked about the squad's reaction to the result against Spurs. "We were all very disappointed," he told "The mood in the dressing room was of disbelief and frustration. But the players are united, passionate and want to win.

"They are in this together, they want to be winners together. We have a long way to go and we are all determined to show that we can fight for this title together. We know the truth on the inside and that is not what has been projected on the outside. We know what we have to do."

Captain William Gallas also spoke about the result midweek. "We know we should have taken all three points on Wednesday night but it did not happen," he said. "I know it doesn't feel like it but we got a draw. It was the minimum we deserved.

"But we cannot dwell on one game. We have to stay focussed on what is ahead of us and not what is behind. We are a tight- knit unit working together with belief and desire to challenge for trophies. We can do it.

"That starts tomorrow at Stoke. Unfortunately a scan has revealed that I have pulled my hamstring so sadly I won't be involved but the boys are determined to come back with three points.'

Tony Pulis will be looking to add to Arsenal's misery. 'Arsenal are fantastic at keeping the ball and there are going to be times in the game when we will just have to stay organised and tight.

'But we've created chances in every game we've played and when we've got the ball, we will be playing to our strengths.

'Everybody seems to be focusing on Rory Delap's throw-ins, but we've also played a lot of good football and created a lot of opportunities from open play.'

Stoke Team News:

Stoke will most likely start with the same eleven that won 1-0 on Wednesday against Sunderland. Liam Lawrence will be out even longer for Pulis, as he had surgery on a torn ankle ligament and will be gone for another month.

Player to watch: Rory Delap

With Stoke's record signing Dave Kitson likely to start on the bench again, I will go with the obvious pick for man to watch for Stoke City. Delap's throw-ins will possibly cause Arsenal's defense many problems, as set pieces and long balls have been a dilemma for a while now.

Arsenal Team News:

There might be a few changes in the lineup for Arsenal on Saturday, but this will be down to Arsene continuing his rotation policy during this busy time. Wenger hinted he may rotate but with points being worth gold right now I'm not sure he will. Though, both Eboue and skipper William Gallas will not be involved because of injuries to their knee and hamstring respectively.

Possible Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott, Denilson, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie, Adebayor

Player to watch: Kolo Toure

To be blunt, the defense in the past few weeks, and even the entire beginning of the season, has been nothing short of shambolic. Gallas is removed from action because of an injury, and Kolo Toure will step in to try and sure up this defense. To have any chance in rising back up to the top of the table, we must fix our defensive frailties.

Ref Watch: Rob Styles

The always controversial Rob Styles will be the head official for this game. This season he has botched two penalty calls already, and how he still manages top flight games is beyond me. He has refereed 6 Premier League games this season, handing out 21 yellow cards and 2 reds. That's 3.83 cards per game.

Match Prediction:

I don't think I can give accurate predictions anymore. I have no idea what Arsenal team will show up for any particular game, and even if they do show up, will they be able to keep up the concentration for an entire game? I'll go with 2-1 to the Arsenal

Next Fixtures:

5/11-- Fenerbache(H)-- Champions League

8/11-- Manchester United(H)-- Premier League

11/11-- Wigan(H)-- Carling Cup

Writer:Brice Coffer
Date:Friday October 31 2008
Time: 11:18PM


I dont often make predictions mainly because of the word in the middle which often happens when you do; however I do honestly think that today's game and the one against Manu we will win and the crowd on here will once again be bubbling with praise for the team. It really hurts when we don't perform to the best of our ability, I don't mind us losing but to lose when we give up is just not the Arsenal I know or have loved for the past 60 years. Enough said 'Go you Gunners'
01/11/2008 01:31:00
We can always boo Rob Styles. Everytime he blows thee whistle.."booooo!" just to make the game more interesting.. lets see how he reacts.
01/11/2008 01:42:00
Alwaysgunner, I'm glad some fans can stay positive, hopefully you can make up for the people feeling down like me.
01/11/2008 05:08:00
@alwaysgunner i know exactly what you mean i prefer when our luck runs out or we encounter bad refereeing...e.g. CL last season but to lose the way we did the other day is very hard to rather finish second because we are second best but to finish second because we didnt give it our all is just moronic
01/11/2008 05:36:00
you will absolutely tater these......probably by about 4 goals at least.....
01/11/2008 08:10:00
Time to put steel into the game especially in defence.
Tiny T
01/11/2008 08:10:00
Stoke will be very defensive and very physical. They have the height advantage and good in set pieces. They have all the attributes of be our bogey opponent. I hope we can bounce back but looking at those games against unfancied teams so far, I am not too confident.
01/11/2008 08:43:00
Excuse me, but which game did we LOSE this week? It was a draw. We moved up a place and they stayed rooted to 20th place. Get some perspective Gooners. We're in a title race here with 20 games left. Poor old Spuds are in a RELEGATION race; leave the fretting to them. Next up Stoke, Turks and ManU. Come on Arsenal!!!!
01/11/2008 09:54:00
Do you know how many games thier are in a season JLH4?? Easy to make typos eh??? You need to get the spurs game out of your system quickly or we will start believing you are still really gutted;-)
01/11/2008 10:10:00
the time to feel negative is when it is mathetmatically impossible to win the league not ten games into the competition
fran merida
01/11/2008 11:31:00
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