Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Stoke

Lack of confidence has been a problem for the Gunners this season but there is every reason to go into the home game against Stoke with genuine belief. Arsenal have won all their 4 games against the Potters at home ever since Pulis’ side have regained their place in the Premier League. This season, Stoke have won only 1 away game and have barely scored 8 goals in 12 games while conceding double that number. They’re also winless in their last 5 games which include 3 defeats.

Vermaelen aptly equates them with West Ham as not only the styles of the two teams match but also their performances away from home. To put simply, Arsenal just need a repeat of the West Ham performance and this should be another eminently winnable game.

However, it’s worth remembering the fact that the first-half even in that game was fairly closely contested. There was little to separate the two teams and Arsenal were clearly uncomfortable against the visitors’ aerial and physical challenges.

The ten minute period of that second half was arguably the best spell of football Arsenal have produced this season but they must start finding their rhythm sooner. As Sagna said, the Gunners need a performance like the one against Swansea at home in the FA Cup replay. Even though it was a 1-0 win, the kind of possession and territorial dominance shown throughout that game was impressive. Arsenal pressed well cohesively and combined fluently.

Again, tactically this game is hardly going to throw any surprises. It’s just about dealing with Stoke’s attempts to gain territory through long balls and remaining solid while defending the set-pieces. Nothing Arsenal haven’t done before but lapses in concentration or unforced individual errors can make things significantly harder.

Wenger does have a couple of choices to make as far as his starting eleven is considered. Does he go for the physical qualities of Diaby? Is Nacho Monreal ready for a baptism by fire?

I’d start Diaby in this one in place of Ramsey or Cazorla. Giving the Spaniard another game off is not a bad idea considering he’s used to a winter break and he could always add quality from the bench if the game isn’t working to plan. I’d also keep Santos in the starting eleven despite his obvious weaknesses. It won’t be easy for Monreal to understand his teammates and perform against an opponent that is likely to attack from their right flank through a barrage of long balls. Their style might unsettle him and could lead to fouls and cards. He could be introduced in the final few minutes just to a get a taste of things.

Preferred starting line-up,

Szczesny – Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos – Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby – Walcott, Giroud, Podolski.

Poldi will have to support the left-back, whoever Arsene picks, as Stoke will target the spaces on Arsenal’s left. If Diaby can produce a repeat of his performance in the reverse fixture the defence should be pretty well protected.

Anything less than three points will be another massive disappointment.


12 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Stoke

  1. [...] Lack of confidence has been a problem for the Gunners this season but there is every reason to go into the home game against Stoke with genuine belief. Arsenal have won all their 4 games against the Potters at home ever since Pulis’ side have regained their place in the Premier League. This season, Stoke [...] Source: Arsenal   [...]

  2. Timi Moody says:

    Thanks Desi for analysis. Think the stoke game is a must win for Arsenal, wenger said something abt Santos that he is player that thrives on competition, i really hope with a run of games he could pick form just in time for the Bayern game. The left side has always suffered when Gibbs is injured cos i don’t think Vermalean is moble enough to join in the attacks. Giroud is also growing in stature & it’l be important for him to continue his goal streak. i see a 4-1 home win. COYG

  3. suvo says:

    szcz sagna mert kosc nacho ramsey
    wilshere cazorla theo poldi giroud..

    • Shauri says:

      Santos cant defend,if monreal is not ready i will rather go for young miquel.

      • Gerry Lennon says:

        @Shauri – Miquel is just back from injury.
        Nacho is fit, is a left back, and in similar style to Gibbs? Has class to cope with EPL

  4. Trevor Kent says:

    Vermalens injured so he wont play. No Santos for me.

  5. Gerry Lennon says:

    Alternatively:
    Szcz
    Bacs, Per, Kos, Nacho
    Diaby, Ramsey, Cazorla,
    Walcott, Giroud, Podolski

    I forgot on your earlier blog when I said only two changes, that there was a doubt over TV5. The usual suspects on the bench I guess?

  6. Winner says:

    If Vermalean is fit he should play on the left . Santos can come in as a second half sub when the game is won and gain some important game time. Diaby should start.

  7. Lobster says:

    We all want to see our new Nacho, but he’s only had one training session with us.. And as we all know, a bad performance from him today will lead to the media and his supposed supporters labelling him a flop. He, and Arsenal, don’t need that shit ight now

  8. tommy says:

    Start santos? He’s a total liability. We should start monreal and give him a chance to prove himself before questioning his abilitys.

  9. grumpygunner says:

    Thank goodness Wenger wasn’t reading this site.

    Why would you go with Ramsey when Arteta is fit and willing?

    Why would you pay 8m quid and fly a player in on Valuejet trasnsfer deadline day and not have him play?

    Honestly.

    Good win all the same. Pubis and Stoke were bruised.

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