10 reasons to look forward to Arsenal’s clash against Stoke
Since their ascension to the Premier League in the 2008/09 campaign, Tony Pulis and his goons have slowly become a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League. They’ve been dismal in their Premier League travels but the Britannia Stadium has become a fortress for the club because teams always struggle to get anything out of the game anytime they visit the ground.
Stoke City finished in 12th place in its first season in the Premier League and went one better the season after. They also brought their own style of football that has favored them in their three seasons in the top flight.
Every team has a special weapon that it utilizes in every match and Stoke City is no different. Arsenal can drag about its Robin van Persie while Manchester United can utter enough noise about Wayne Rooney but Tony Pulis’ men have an Irish athlete that possesses springs on his hands.
The mere mention of his name has trembled more teams than the likes of the juggernauts we all know and it’s awkward to know that he has played only 11 games for the Republic of Ireland. When Stoke’s wingers are on the flanks, full backs get scared to concede throw-ins because they know what will come up next. Arsenal can at least attest to the greatness of the Pelter of modern day football, Rory Delap.
Arsenal has a better head-to-head record that their opponents today but I’ll like to give 10 reasons to look forward to the feisty encounter.
Arsene Wenger’s birthday
The Professor of football turns 62 today and has been at Arsenal since he was 47. The Gunners will want to turn on the style to give their boss the best birthday gift he can ever ask for, three valuable points.
Arsene Wenger told the media Vultures that he’s not a milestone man when his Arsenal career turned 15 but today has to be a special day for the boss because another year has been added to his life and that’s something to be thankful for.
Every Arsenal fan worldwide will never forget the 27th of February, 2010. It was the day where Ryan Shawcross snapped Aaron Ramsey’s leg like a twig to give him an injury that halted his progressive career for the best part of one year. Like Dan Smith and Martin Taylor before him, Shawcross got into Arsenal’s bad books and a lot of gooners will love to see him falter today.
An own goal won’t be a bad option though.
Ramsey’s reaction to the game
Aaron Ramsey forgave Shawcross after that incident and he did extremely to work hard whike recuperating and he didn’t give up on himself. So many good footballers hung their boots after suffering the long –term trauma being on the sidelines for a considerable period of time.
Ramsey played Stoke at the Britannia last May and even played a role in of the goals Stoke scored in the 3-1 win over Arsenal and he’ll be determined as ever to prove a point to Arsene Wenger because his place is not guaranteed yet.
Three more points
If Arsenal wants to stand an outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League football next season, they need to become a formidable force at the Emirates and a win over Stoke will go a long way to help Arsene Wenger’s side.
While Manchester City is sitting pretty at the summit of the Premier League with 22 points, Arsenal has amassed a meager 10 points from eight games. Therefore, three points are very important for Wenger and his men.
A club that couldn’t put together a string of good performances at the start of the season has recorded four wins from their last five games and the momentum is back on the side. The match against Chelsea is just around the corner; Arsenal has to pick up victories against Stoke and Bolton (Wednesday) to give them that edge that they desire.
Transition to the Premier League
Arsenal is a club that involved in every competition football as a sport has to offer but it’s evident to everyone to see that it’s time for the Premier League again after the Champions League adventure over Olympique Marseille in the mid-week.
Shortly afterwards, a Carling Cup fixture will be the next in line before Arsenal Gunners visited the home ground of their rivals from London, Chelsea.
A win over Tony Pulis
Tony Pulis isn’t really the sort of a manager you’ll see having a glass of wine with Arsene Wenger long after the match over. Both managers have played mind-games on each other in the past over each and Aaron Ramsey’s double fracture sparked another war of words between the gaffers after Pulis reiterated that Ryan Shawcross was the kind of a player that could even hurt a fly.
Football vs Rugby
Two sporting cultures will be only display at the Emirates Stadium today. The home side will gear themselves up for some entertaining, sultry and telepathic movements with the ball while today’s away side will bring their gym equipment ready as well as towels for the man who can throw a ball from Mars to Jupiter.
The last time both cultures clash in Emirates Stadium on the 23rd of February, 2011, Football prevailed over Rugby at the cost of Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott who lost their places in the Carling Cup final that was lost four days later.
Rory Delap’s long throws
He might have been better suited as a cricket bowler but he chose that path of football. He was a javelin champion is his school days so it was no surprise that he’ll be renowned as the most feared thrower of the ball in England and probably the world.
His career spanned through teams like Carlisle United, Derby County, Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke and he has amassed a total of 42 assists from his long throws from 1997 till date. Even the great Paul Scholes of Manchester United managed 33 assists in 17 years in service to the Red Devils. Delap has gone nine better with his hands in 14 years.
Stoke City inflicted their first blow on Arsenal in November 2008 in a match were Rory Delap handed two assists with his special weapons of mass football destruction. Arsenal exacted their revenge on the final day of that season were Robin van Persie scored his 20th goal and Vito Mannone made his league debut.
Arsenal and Stoke played each other in the 2009/10 campaign but Stoke drove the nail in Arsenal’s FA Cup coffin in March 2010 even if Arsenal had the bragging rights in the league. Last season, snow halted the December fixture between both teams but it was rescheduled to February 2011 and Sebastien Squillaci scored what proved to be the winner.
However, Johan Djourou had a stinker when both sides met at the Britannia in May.
I just gave 10 reasons for you to look forward to the match against Stoke. Don’t forget your 3-D glasses and popcorn because it will be one hell of a match.