3 areas of improvement for Stoke today

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Quick post because I’m late to the mark today.

Things I’d love to see today.


Would love to see Arsenal a bit more organized in defence today. The team know everything is a little bit makeshift at the moment, so it falls upon everyone to muck in and assume a little more accountability than we did against Leicester. That means being first to second balls, that means over communicating at set pieces, that means going in HARD FIRST AND MAKING A STATEMENT MANLY POWER GRRRRRR.

Moving forward:

I think we looked pretty good going forward against Leicester, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us knock four in again today. Stoke aren’t the team they once were, and we should be able to pick holes in their backline all day today. I’m hoping for another positive showing from Lacazette, and I’d really like to see Danny Welbeck continue his run of fitness (3 games, and I’m hoping to see his run continue).

Wenger had kind words to say about Giroud pregame.

‘He is a winner, he has a special mentality as well – he is a guy who is very strong mentally. He is a top-class player as well and all that together makes him efficient. I must say when you are in a fight you always want him on your side. He has that mental strength when you are under pressure, you know you can rely on him. That is a very special quality that is very difficult to have. ‘
Maybe a bit of little and large today so he can land his 100th goal?


I don’t mean to pick on Xhaka, but regardless of those monster passing statistics, it’s clear that he struggles with concentration a little. I’d love to see a flawless game from our no doubt talented Swiss midfielder. Part of that is on him to not do something silly, part of that is on the team to make sure he’s not put in situations where he’s the only one chasing back. We need a complete midfield performance out there, because that’s the part of the squad that feels the least complete this season.

Let’s have fun, drink all the beer, and no abusing Wenger on train back.


974 Responses to “3 areas of improvement for Stoke today”

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  1. Paulinho

    Don – He only has something to offer when Iniesta and Xavi are next to him. They completely occupy the opppostion, and that allow him to sit deep with the proverbial cigar out, playing at his pace, and yes, he’s adept at using both feet to spread the ball around in those circumstances.

    As soon Xavi and Iniesta combo departed, he got exposed. All of a sudden Barca weren’t controlling the games high up the pitch, old Busquets had to stub the cigar out and do some running. Didn’t look so cool, calm, collected then. Less time on the ball, less respect from the opposition, and he now looks like antiquated carthorse running in treacle. Another who can’t evade a press.

  2. Dissenter

    I would just get Draxler for 35 million and Cavallho for 35 million.
    Sell off or give away[for free] all the deadwood and be done with it.
    …and I would sell Alexis to PSG while we are at it.

  3. Marko

    Never really been a big fan of Busquets to be honest. His passing stats much like Xhaka’s stem from passing it about 5 yards sideways. He’s good positionally though and can tackle so he has that going for him

  4. Marko

    Just saw the huddersfield owner there. That’s something we’ve severely lacked for years an actual owner who turns up for games and cares. I mean at least Abramovich shows up a number of times in a season. Perez at Madrid 9 times out of 10 in at the bernaneu

  5. peanuts&monkeys

    WengerMF is stuck in the 1990’s with his managerial decision-making. Xhaka has been a total misfit. He ahd be sold back at the earliest: any ither swift decision-maker would do that. But this Kronke dick-sucker Wenger will jeep these dross in fear of being proved wrong publicly.

    Only teams who do not have any ambition, any target whatsoever do that. This AKB XI is just that.

  6. peanuts&monkeys

    Mohamed Salah is a gem picked up by Liverpool. Do anyone of you AKBs have ever seen a winger cum dribbler cum cross-provider from the final third at Arsenal? I bet you haven’t, you AKBs.

  7. Bamford10


    I generally agree with your takes, but I disagree with you re Busquets. Is he as effective now with a less effective midfield in front of him? No. But that doesn’t prove that he wasn’t a great defensive mid in the first place.

    I have watched Busquets with the ball at his feet and under pressure to know that he was and is an excellent, excellent player. Not necessarily the quickest or most athletic, but tough-minded and decent in a tackle.

    Sure his qualities worked best in that great Barca side — one of the best teams in football history, easily — but the same could be said of every player in that team, even Messi. They were all better on account of the quality of the collective.

    Maybe Busquets wouldn’t work well elsewhere the way Messi, or Iniesta, or Alves would, but neither would Xavi have. I don’t know that that makes Xavi a lesser player than we thought he was in 2010.

    Regardless, Busquets was/is an excellent player, IMO, but maybe it is true that he wouldn’t have been or isn’t the same player in a different set-up.

  8. Gooner63

    What a joke yesterday was

    You can see he has lost the players, Ozil n Alexis just want out

    The desperation of playing Ox at RB to get him to sign, and so worried that it may piss off Bellerin, he plays him at LB, then has to play LBs as CBs

    The CBs who werent picked – wow Wenger why not totally destroy their confidence too by playing LBs in their places.

    Then still no holding player – any team with pace players (pretty much all of them) will just destroy us with no cover in midfield.

    Then watching the monotonous feeding the ball to the wings, with no way of crossing as we had small lacazette up front, so the ball come back to the middle.

    Welbz and Ozil just couldnt be arsed to make runs, left poor Xhaka with no chance of being creative, having to push forward more n more and leaving the defence exposed.

    Then to top it all off – taking off Xhaka and Lacazette with 10mins left – leaving the ineffective Ozil and Welbeck still on – Wenger at his best.

    Lacazette just shaking his head after being taken off – must be wondering wtf is going on.

    11 days – sell Alexis, Ozil and Ox and rebuild, because the rest now have no belief, no trust in the manager and no leaders.

    A best of a defensive midfielder, a creative winger who scores goals and a playmaker – spend money and get them in, else i cant even see top 6

  9. peanuts&monkeys

    If a talent like Arshavin cud be rottenned under WengerMF, any other pkayer worth half his salt would never come to play under the post-2008 FOSSILWenger. So, who would come? Players who are playing at 2nd division or lower, and never would have any chance of top-flight football would come – Elnenny, Giroud, Campbell, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Monreal, MUSTAFI, GABRIEL.

    Can you remember the last time an Arsenal player being taken away to real top-league and being successful there? TH, RvP and now Sanchez.

  10. peanuts&monkeys

    “11 days – sell Alexis, Ozil and Ox and rebuild, because the rest now have no belief, no trust in the manager and no leaders.”

    REBUILD?? Rebuilding with Wenger at the centre pf footballing in a top-flight league??? What are you on, mate?????? Did you just buy some AKB-LSD from Le-Grove online?

  11. Doublethink

    Don – He only has something to offer when Iniesta and Xavi are next to him. They completely occupy the opppostion, and that allow him to sit deep with the proverbial cigar out, playing at his pace, and yes, he’s adept at using both feet to spread the ball around in those circumstances.As soon Xavi and Iniesta combo departed, he got exposed. All of a sudden Barca weren’t controlling the games high up the pitch, old Busquets had to stub the cigar out and do some running. Didn’t look so cool, calm, collected then. Less time on the ball, less respect from the opposition, and he now looks like antiquated carthorse running in treacle. Another who can’t evade a press.
    Since Xavi left and they had a front three of MSN Barca’s style has changed meaning that they’ve had less control of midfield over the last few years, coincidentally Iniesta’s performances have dropped in that time too. Was he just benefiting from being next to Xavi?

  12. Redtruth

    The price tag says £35m but the real value of Xhaka is the same as Elneny’s.
    So we have two car boot sale players in midfield and people wonder why we are struggling…lol

  13. AA23

    I understand the Xhaka criticism as he has been at the focal point of pretty much every goal we have conceded thus far over the two games of the season.

    But…. this whole team is disjointed and out of rhythm. Xhaka’s job of CM is arguably most important on the pitch and trying to keep the tempo in that midfield with Ozil offering very little leaves him isolated.

    Still think we haven’t scratched the surface of potential with the likes of him, the Ox, and Bellerin.

  14. Paulinho

    Bamford – Yeah, takes on his ability on the ball within that context(Xavi/Iniesta) are subjective, and if you think that he was excellent at circulating the ball, whether under pressure or not, fair enough.

    There are different types of pressure though. Busquets had a certain threshold, a certain tipping point, and if that point was crossed he would go from cool hand luke to ragggedy Andy in no time. It may have been just one extra pressing midfielder that did it; that extra opposition player in his peripheral vision that distorted the delicate balance that existed in his mind and body, and he would start to make errors. This happened with increasing frequency as soon a Xavi-Iniesta departed, and he couldn’t and hasn’t adjusted. I knew it back then, because it still happened with Xavi and Iniesta, but my opinion of him and his shortcomings have only been strengthened since. Rakitic and the likes are not great, but still if he was that great he should have it in his locker to bring more to the game and make up that technical shortfall.

    Top central midfielders IMO – Iniesta, Verratti, Xavi – can play on the both sides of the ball. The opposition can’t pick them up and you almost have them on a string as a result. Players such as Busquets and Xhaka – who only play on the one side of the ball, should never in my book be considered elite. Kante can play on both sides of the ball, and Makelele even could do it when the situation demanded it. Vieira also. Busquets is too limited to be mentioned amongst the elite, or as a great player, but if someone thinks he was excellent at what he did, in that frame work, then fair enough. As I said, I thought he was adept.

  15. Gooner63


    I dont want to rebuild with Wenger

    But Wenger isnt going anywhere for the next 2/5 years – so he will need to do something

    There is never any point keeping players who want to leave, it never works well

  16. AA23

    Lineup something like this and it begins to take shape:


    Giroud, Iwobi as impact substitutions.

    Sell Walcott ASAP please.

  17. Gooner63

    AA23 that was the lineup apart from the defence

    The line up needs to be a back 4 with a DM, theres no point in wingbacks if u dont have CMs who can get back and defend

  18. Don

    God you lot don’t get it do you?
    Besswuets was part of system. A cog in a machine
    That’s how teams work. Now he’s being overrun because he is in a midfield that negates his qualities
    He can’t do it by himself.
    Just like xakha. Just like pogba. There are very few midfielders that can do it all. Which is why they stand out from the rest of their generation.
    Lampard Gerrard Keane Vieira Robsosn Toure. After that any midfield player needs certain other players in ther team to complement their skill set and hide their weaknesses. Why do you think we switched to 3 in the middle initially? To accommodate cesc. A very talent and accomplished player but he messed help
    Busquets is no different.

  19. Leedsgunner

    I see Wenger banging on about the offside goal rather than focussing on the important issues at hand… like why is it that after years of experience can he still not beat teams like Stoke?

    Who wants to bet he will now panic buy rather than addressing the needs in the team? Panic buying after saying he will only buy exceptional quality of course.

    There’s no accountability so why should we really expect anything different?

  20. Relieable Sauce

    Keita and Griezmann could be available for 150m Euros next summer if they don’t sign new contracts.

    Really hoping this is the start of the losing run that sees the sacking of the old codger.

  21. Paulinho

    Don – It’s just a discussion. I think you’re the one that needs to chill out a bit.

    As for what you said, that is obvious, and there is a sliding scale for all that, which is equally as obvious. That is reason a club buys player X over Y, because X is less reliant on system is more adaptable than Y. So you buy Alonso over Busquets because Alonso has a skillset that is more transferable and less dependant on exceptional circumstances i.e Two legends like Xavi and Iniesta playing together.

  22. kristoman

    my God people on this blog are really gullible and short memories. Just a month ago 343 is the best slice bread out there. After lc and stoke, we all are saying 343 does not suit us anymore.

  23. Dissenter

    Stoke Police‏Verified account
    apologies for the delay in replying. We’ve been busy looking for a missing person, surname Ozil. Have you seen him? #Banter

    Even Stoke police can’t help but take cheap shots at Arsenal and Ozil

    …and to think we offered this clown 280k weekly to stay?
    F*CK OFF Wenger

  24. Paulinho

    Double-think – In terms of deep-lying I would say Pirlo, Mascherano, Alonso, Carrick, Kante…probably a few more but can’t think of them. Different types in there; for example Mascherano more primitive than Carrick but great defensively, solid passer, quick, and dynamic, and could carry the ball when needed. Actually annoys me that Barca played him as centre back the way they did. No win situtation for Mascherano which speaks volumes for him as a character. Regardless of how well he did, the scepticism was always there.

  25. Dissenter

    Barcelona set to pay the £36m release clause of Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri
    No worries we have sick bay Wilshere waiting in the wings.

  26. Dissenter

    The Wanyama-Dembele-Erikssen midfield is probably the best in the league. It’s a lot better than anything we have.

  27. Dissenter

    Spuds look a class above us
    Their midfield, defense and attackers are better than ours.
    Only Alexis is good enough to fight for a starting spot and he’s on his way out.

    Thanks Wenger.

  28. Bamford10

    Bakayoko being asked to play in a slightly different role. Doesn’t look nearly as comfortable, but I guess a little of that is inevitable.

  29. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    The club won’t go forward with wenger at the helm

    Ten years aquireing money to have a squad as shit as this …

    Wenger is laughing
    The board don’t care

    Hate the team
    Hate the club

    Destroy it from within

    Don’t buy fuck all from them
    Boo as aloud as you can
    Fight the fight to free Arsenal from this dictatorship

    arsenal freedon fighters clear the club of wenger an gazidis

  30. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Not citing individuals but if people keep supporting an sticking up for this shocking manager thebclub will never go forward.

    The problem is wenger

    We can put pressure on him

    Hate is the way forward

    Hate the club hate himboo hiss treat him like. Pantomime villain because it’s a pantomime club

  31. TR7

    Spurs missing the attacking flair of Rose and Walkers. Tripper is a very good player, better than Walker defensively but doesn’t have the same attacking flair. Davies similar – solid but not an attacking threat.

  32. Du vi

    When you watch Dembele and then see the excuses the fanbase make for dross like Xhaka and the other shitshowers at the club …even with his injuries ….would write an open cheque for him….

  33. Champagne charlie

    Spurs are tough to play against. That’s the difference.

    We give teams a chance to play, Spurs and Pochettino have a system that puts teams under pressure time and again. Exactly what I say about us having passive possession. Theirs is threatening and dangerous time after time. The Chelsea defenders know they’re in a game

  34. Champagne charlie

    Dembele is fantastic. Why? Because he can carry the ball through the lines and put a team on the back foot.

    None of our central options can do this. Jack is closest to it, but he’s made of cheerios.

  35. Cesc Appeal

    Conte’s set up has worked well so far. I thought in the week Chelsea’s best bet was just congesting the middle and that is what they have done.

    However, Spurs were coming to life at the end there and there are big questions over Bakayoko’s legs in the second half, Rudiger’s yellow and shaky performance and Chelsea’s bench when legs start to tire.

  36. Dissenter

    The athleticism and physicality of both teams is really nice to watch.
    I can only dream.

    Both teams playing with 10-outfield players. There’s no Ozil-like passenger riding on the others.

  37. Cesc Appeal

    I still think Spurs could end up winning this by a two goal margin.

    Has that sort of feel, one and Chelsea might collapse I think.

  38. Dissenter

    It’s Bagayoko’s first game, isn’t it?
    The same posters that still won’t give up on a lesser player (Xhaka) are already ruling out an entrant to the league.

  39. raptora

    Don: “We had loads of chances mate”

    Spuds had more chances, clear opportunities including a shot in the side bar vs Chelsea for one half than we had vs a Stoke team who are 2 losses away from firing their manager. Sad times.

  40. TR7

    Barca sign Paulinho and Seri, surprised they aren’t interested in Dembele. Easily among the best 5 central midfielders in the world.

  41. Dissenter

    Don has seen the light…for now
    I expect that he will be back to his Wenger-loving ways once we eke out another 4-3 victory at home against a mid-table team.

  42. raptora

    Dembele is 10 times the player Ozil is. If the information that we are ready to offer 280k pounds a week to Ozil he’ll be stealing 4 times the salary that Dembele gets. Shocking!

  43. graham62

    Tony Cascarino stated on Talksport earlier today that Arsenal play as if it’s a training session. How true that is. The intensity is non existent, with no leaders, no winners, no hope.

    As RSPC highlighted in his earlier post ” The problem is Wenger”. Forget the owner and the board, it is all down to one individual. He is an embarrassment to us all and yet still continues to take us for mugs.

    Add to this the weak ‘followers’ who still hang onto Wengers every word and action and you have a recipe for disaster. He is finished as a manager and coach, and needs to be replaced with immediate effect

    I am not consumed by this, as there are far more important things to concern me in my daily life. However, because I know that I am 100% right in all of this, I will continue to remain numb to our predictable failings, until this narcissist leaves the building.