If you listen carefully, you can hear Tony's brain clicking...
Sunday morning is here, we’re heading up to Stoke and thankfully the weather isn’t sub zero for once. When the sun is shining, it’s like we’ve already earned ourselves half a point. It’ll still be a massively tough game for us. Tony Pulis will have been working away all week in his tactics cave trying to hammer out an evil plan to shackle our free flowing football spirit. I’m guessing it’ll work a little bit like this…
1. Kick em’ really hard
2. Kick that little one the hardest
3. Throw the ball into the box at the big one
The sad part about the above tactical master class is it’s usually quite effective. Referees in the Premiership have this affliction when making decisions on bad fouls. If your wage bill is lower than £60million, it’s ok to two foot someone in the groin. How could you know any better, you’re poor and uneducated. This normally results in us going into a shell, or it results in us losing our own game plan.
Now, this year, I’m hoping that Steve Bould has had the players watching videos and I’m hoping they’ve had Mertesacker and Chezzer over to one side practicing that long throw into the box. The Polish keeper is actually pretty good at dealing with balls into the box already, I’d say it’s his main strength, so I’m not too fussed about that. What does worry me is our defence in general and long balls into the box. If anyone should be comfortable in that area, it’s the mighty German. He’s still yet to convince people, however, I’m in his fan club… and I missed the early cock up he made against Sunderland.
We still have no Koscielny, so the back line will remain the same. This is an important game for Jenkinson,we need another confident defensive display. In the middle of the park, I’m going to assume nothing changes. We’ll opt for the height and one track defensive mindedness of Abou Diaby, complimented by the Pirlo-esque Arteta sprinkled with the genius of the pocket creator, Santi Cazorla, sitting in that hole. Up top, if I were paid £7mil a year, I’d be going with Giroud through the middle, for his height and power, I’d have Gervinho on the left and I’d stick Chamberlain on the right. I’d also take a big red stick into the dressing room, I’d quietly tell Gervinho that if he shirks on a shooting opportunity to make a poor pass, I’d ask Steve Bould to hit him on the back of the legs with the stick at half time. Mid-way through the first half, I’d whistle at Gervinho, and simulate the striking technique Steve adopts, just to focus him. It’s called motivation people… that’s all it is.
Back to the football…
If things are going bad late on, I’d bring Podolski in on the left and stick with Giroud. It’s still quite frighetnening that we don’t have another striker outside the two we bought. We’re massively short there and that’s not good going into a long campaign.
The team need to play their game.We need to play as a unit at the back and we need to take the ‘handbrake’ off going forward. Finding our shooting boots today is absolutely essential. We can’t get ourselves into one of those ‘how many minutes since Robin left has it been since Arsenal scored a goal’ type scenarios. Let’s shoot on site. Let’s play around Stoke and let’s all stick together. We have the maturity and strength to take all three points. Anything less at this stage should be seen as a failure.
Alex Song is the new Adebayor. He’s fluked out by moving to the best club team in the world, yet he still can’t resist talking about us like a bitter ex. He gave his all, he’s shocked insiders have leaked stories about his character and he hand on heart said he wanted to sign for Arsenal for the rest of his life.
Kind of like me trying to convince you that I was willing to marry my girlfriend, but she pushed me into the arms of Mila Kunis (move over Megan, I’ve seen Black Swan).
Song needs to deal with the fact that having secret bad attitude was never going to remain a secret. He did ok out of it. Now keep quiet, show us all that your famed chipped pass was pure technique and embarrass us all with 29 assists this season.
Incidentally, could you believe the rumours that Barca were in for David Luiz as well? It’s like this new coach is purposely trying to sabotage all the hard work Guardiola put in over the years!
On the Arsenal gossip side, there are very strong set rumours that Tiote is a target for Arsenal. He wasn’t present in the Newcastle side yesterday, apparently he had a calf injury. Was it a calf injury though? Or was it like a Manual Almunia finger injury? It could be either. I’m not sure about him if I’m honest. As someone said yesterday, he’s a midfield destroyer, but does he understand the game? I’m sure he has a criminal discipline record as well? He’d be an improvement on Alex Song for purely defensive reasons, however, he’s still African (wait before you pounce), which means he’ll be gone in January. Do we relish the prospect of this? I’m so all over the place with this one…
In other Newcastle based news, we’ve apparently rekindled interest in Cabaye. After missing out on Sahin, he’s the player we’re looking for. Again, I’m not sure where these rumours come from. He’s a top player, the Newcastle fans rave about him as a central midfielder, however, I can’t see us paying out £20million for him. That said, we’ve got a bundle of spare cash lying around and as someone pointed out on Twitter yesterday regarding the Sahin deal… when you’ve got spare cash lying around, you should be buying, not loaning. Do we need a Cabaye? Well, with Jacks fitness up in the air, it’d be hard to argue we don’t… Proven Premiership quality is always a good route to head down!
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Right, early kick off, time to bring in the beers and start ramping up the excitement!
Update: Apparently Manonne starts…