Sunderland preview – Wilshere – Stoke hilarity

Many thing fuel this blog. Passion, Arsenal, desire, football, winning, cheese strings, coffee. Today, my good old friends, this blog is powered by Guinness and wine and rum and bourbon and a taxi driver from Ghana who had a marvelous hat and who laughed like this when I told him Essien was total benny ‘Harhyuk hyuk hyuk hyuk!’

I liked him. Nevertheless, when he tried to convince me of the merits of Kevin Prince Boateng I had to tell him to get out of the car at once. I suppose, when he told me that it was his car and he wasn’t as drunk as the Irish prime minister, he had a point but still … a man has to take a stand.

Today we go to Sunderland which has proven to be a tricky enough game for us at times. Last season we lost 1-0 and it was all a bit depressing. We came into that game on the back of a 13 game unbeaten run and fell foul to a kind of spacker goal from a corner and then got denied a pelanty and it was all most unsatisfactory.

I would hope for, and possibly expect, a bit better today. Sunderland at home are a tough outfit but I think we’re capable of three points up there. We’ve gone to Blackburn and won, it’s a similar kind of test and I hope we can make the most of it. It’s never easy going away from home after the Champions League but that’s just something we’re going to have to deal with.

In terms of the team there’s nothing new to report with regard injury. Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby remain out (pencilled in for a return for the West Brom game) and aside from that there are no new injury concerns. I think we’ll probably see the same team that started against Braga with perhaps Rosicky coming in for Nasri.

It means that Jack Wilshere will probably continue in midfield, at least I hope that’s the case because the youngster has been fantastic this season. He’s been involved in every game so far and has shown a discipline and maturity to his game that belies his 18 years. He wants to follow in the footsteps of the captain and says Cesc is a big influence on him:

He takes me to one side occasionally. Around the training ground he is helpful and, when he is on the pitch, he is telling me things to do and try. He tells me I’m not going to play every week and that I’ve got to break through slowly to stay in. That’s how it worked with him, after all. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps and be as good as him.

He is always talking to you, a great leader as well as a good player. The more games I can play with him the better.

Young Jack is probably the most talented English youngster to have come through the ranks in years. That he’s got somebody like Cesc Fabregas to learn from is a wonderfully serendipitous accident of timing and will hugely benefit Arsenal in the long run. It’s down to him now to stay focussed and work hard because it’s all in front of him if he wants it. Fingers crossed he makes the most of his talent and does it at Arsenal.

Marouane Chamakh will continue up front and I think a goal away from home would be a great thing. All his goals have come at the Grove – although he did play a big part in Reina fumbling the equaliser in at Anfield – so to get one on the road would certainly aid his progress. The Moroccan, now officially my favourite ever Moroccan, has had a better start to his Arsenal career than many expected. Long may it continue. Of course his start can only go on for a finite period but I mean the goals and shit. You know.

So, there’s every reason to be confident going into the game today. We’re scoring goals, playing well and the team has clicked quite early, but any lack of focus will be punished in this league. Sunderland are decent, have goals in them, and I suspect the defence will find themselves more tested than they did in midweek. Keeping things crossed for the right result.

Moving on and Stoke City have embarrassed themselves, again, with yet more moaning about Arsene Wenger. Their Chairman, Tony (not related to Paul) Scholes, said:

Many of you will have seen the comments made by Arsene Wenger in which he was critical of the club generally and Ryan Shawcross in particular. We have written to him objecting to these comments and have asked for an apology.

Much as we respect Arsene Wenger, we cannot allow him to continue criticising us in this way. Therefore, in the absence of any apology, we will continue with our complaint, even though it has been reported that the FA will take no action.

We cannot accept that. It is not right that anyone in the game can criticise one of our players with reproach.

I know, I know. I had to republish those comments in full in case someone at Stoke wakes up this morning, realises the chairman of the club has made a complete and utter twat of himself and blows up the internet to try and destroy the evidence.

So, even though the FA have said they’ll take no action they’re continuing with their complaint. To who, exactly? The Pope? He’s in town and is looking to curry favour with ordinary decent folk. Have a word with him. Or they could complain to the Complaints Under National Threat comission.

This is so hilariously retarded. It’s brilliant. Wenger made a comment about Shawcross, and Huth, and their goalkeeper bashing. Stoke seem to have ignored Huth completely and focussed entirely on the leg-breaking imbecile instead. It must make Huth feel that he’s not enough of a ponderous, lumbering oaf. It can’t be good for team spirit.

As for not people not being able to criticise players without reproach, since when it is illegal or wrong to criticise footballers? Has some new law been passed that would prevent me from saying ‘Ryan Shawcross is a horrible, clogging cunt’? By all means reproach me for it, see if I care, but I can say it. Same way Stoke can say what they like about our players. It’s called an opinion. Wenger didn’t suggest Shawcross was a serial killer who liked to bugger puppies. He didn’t call him a Phil Collins fan (even though I suspect he very much is one and has all his albums and posters on his wall which may well be covered in Shawjism) or anything horrible like that.

He said he was breaking the rules at corners. And Stoke have thrown a hissy fit to end all hissy fits because they feel the reputation of their player has been impugned in some way.

The fact is Shawcross has a reputation for being a dirty, dangerous, reckless player who has the intelligence of a shoe and has to concentrate on breathing. He got that reputation all by himself by going around injuring other players quite badly. Perhaps Stoke might want to address the fact one of their players is a thuggish bumpkin who needs to change the way he plays the game, put their toys back in the pram and get on with the business of being relegated out of existence, the witless cunts.

And if any Stoke fans are reading this you can fuck off as well. I remember you jeering Ramsey off the pitch when Shawcross broke his leg in two. Quite frankly, if I were in charge of stuff, I’d have you all neutered or put down. And your children too. Nits make lice, after all. It would make the world a much better place.

Anyway, let them continue talking, it’s always fascinating to witness somebody making a complete and utter fool of themself in public.

Now, however, I require much bacon, probably between pieces of bread. And more coffee. And some painkillers. And possibly a new head. And some replacement limbs.

Here’s to three points later, catch you tomorrow.

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