Most of you will be thinking about the Barcelona tie. I say to hell with them, we have more important matters at hand and we must focus our attention towards that. Its Stoke tomorrow, the return of the thugs led, none other than, by Ryan ‘not that kind of a guy’ Shawcross.
Much has been said on the Ramsey incident already and I won’t go into that. As for what the crowd does to Shawcross, I don’t care. What I care about is that we win by scoring plenty of goals. And incidentally we will go top again, and if Chelsea does their job we will stay there.
As it is Stoke, expect lots of long throws, long balls, pushing, shoving, kicking, tackles and everything you can imagine to try and put us on the back foot.
To counter it, we would need our midfielders to support the defense every time the ball is with Stoke. The second ball is what we need protection against and the midfielders will come into play a lot tomorrow. If we can shut them out in the middle by keeping possession, they won’t be much of a threat then. Provided we score on the chances we get and keep it disciplined at the back, we will get the result.
As for the team, Djourou needs to start tomorrow. He has been excellent in the air and we will need that. To partner him I would go with Squillaci. Clichy has come under a lot of fire for his performance against Manu. As Desigunner proves it here and I agree that it was the lack of support on his flank that led to that side being exploited. And since there is no word on Gibbs yet, Clichy is going to start. Sagna to occupy the other flank.
The latest on Fabianski is that he is to undergo tests, in other words he won’t start. As a result Szczesny will be in goal. He was impressive against United; showing confidence, making saves and catching whatever went down his way. We will need the same type of performance as there will be plenty of long balls tomorrow.
In the middle, Fabregas needs to start as the match with Chelsea is next and we need him to get some playing time. Song and Wilshere to support him. Both of them will need to be alert by providing cover for the defenders properly.
Upfront, I feel it’s time now to give Van Persie a start. We need him to get his form back as it is vital for our campaign. To partner him, Nasri is a certainty to start. This leaves only one place and I can’t decide between Arshavin and Rosicky (although Arshavin is edging it at the moment). Rosicky will offer us cover at the back while contributing upfront also. Arshavin on the other hand is a game changer and despite not playing well in the last match, will always be a danger.
And I have not forgotten Walcott. I believe that he offers us more when he comes on as a substitute. He along with Chamakh to start on the bench.
So my starting XI would be: Szczesny, Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Nasri, Van Persie, Arshavin
No predictions for tomorrow. However, I would love to see plenty of goals and a clean sheet.
Come on Gooners!! Let’s show Stoke how proper football is played!!