Today’s fixture is against Stoke City, a side which includes that grubby thug Shawcross but our man is over it all:
The memories have gone – It took a long time to get the effects of the injury out of my system.
Mikel Arteta is back in the squad as we all know but we still have a few who are not so lucky.
Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby all remain sidelined.
That leaves us with:
Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Ozil, Ramsey, Walcott, Giroud, Fabianski, Akpom, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Monreal, Frimpong, Gnabry, Arteta.
Here’s a few stats from Opta – I know you all love those:
We have won all five Premier League matches against Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium.
Peter Crouch has been the only real thorn in our side by scoring seven Premier League goals against us.
Stoke will be the fifth team Mark Hughes has coached in an away game against us in the League and he’s lost all six.
Mathieu Flamini has been booked in both of his appearances for Arsenal in the Premier League this season.
We have scored all eight of our 2013-14 Premier League goals from open play, whereas two of Stoke’s three goals have come from set-plays.
Stoke have completed 79% of their passes in the Premier League this season; more than in any of the five Premier League seasons under Tony Pulis. They have also averaged more passes per game this season (397) than in any of the previous five Premier League seasons under Pulis.
Olivier Giroud is one of only nine players to score in our team’s opening four games of a Premier League season and the second Arsenal player after Jose Reyes in 2004-05. All four of his goals this season have come before half-time and all before the 24th minute.
And don’t I
love hate them….
One thing those little snippets reveal though is Stoke under Hughes are a very different proposition to the last few seasons when they’d roll up, try and kick us off the pitch in attempt to snatch a point or more and after the game we’d have to listen to that vile man witter on about how we don’t like the physical game…
Well I don’t think we’ll see any of that style of play today and having watched them play against Manchester City, Mark Hughes will try and get his side to beat us by playing football the right way.
Even Ramsey agrees his fellow countryman is trying to do the right things:
As for facing Stoke:
It’s different. It’s at home and under Mark Hughes they have changed style.
I am sure they will be quite physical and press us and close us down. But we are at home and hopefully we’ll get the result.
Whether he changes that philosophy just because it’s us remains to be seen and all the time players like Shawcross and Adam are on the pitch, there is no reason to think he wouldn’t. Let’s hope he doesn’t.
The fans won’t ever forget Shawcross and what he did to Aaron Ramsey and no doubt they will make their feelings quite clear today but there’s another reason that our fans will be loud and proud. New signing Mesut Ozil will make his home debut, the stadium will be packed to the rafters with fans who are desperate to see the new boy strut his stuff in the flesh instead on television.
Mesut Ozil will lift the fans, the fans will lift the players and that should make for a great game of football, a wonderful, silky performance from the men in red and white – and of course, three points to the good guys!