Arsenal will look to turn a good week into a fantastic one when Mark Hughes brings his Stoke City side to the Emirates on Sunday. A lot of football experts and fans, including myself, have been very surprised by Stoke this season, but I expect Arsene Wenger and an in-form Arsenal side to bring them back to Earth with a bump this weekend.
Wenger can lead us through a league in turmoil by DG
While everyone knows that Arsene Wenger is now comfortably the longest serving current Premier League manager, I wonder if you all realise just how far ahead he is of the pack? It was revealed yesterday that Tony Pulis is leaving Stoke after 7 years in charge. His departure, coupled with Roberto Martinez leaving Wigan, mean that the second longest serving manager in the league right now is Alan Pardew. How can this be!? Pardew only joined Newcastle in 2010, and yet he finds himself behind only Wenger on the longest serving list. It is a remarkable and shocking reminder of just how fickle a manager’s career can be.
Michael Owen may have been lucky to escape a yellow or even a red card on Saturday after his angry punch thrown at Mikel Arteta towards the end of the bad-tempered game between Arsenal and Stoke, but he may regret that the referee didn’t deal with it immediately as he is now open to an investigation by the FA.
Owen’s manager Tony Pulis admitted that Owen shouldn’t have reacted so strongly, but he is waiting expectantly for the FA to make an announcement. He said: “Arteta’s challenge was a poor challenge but Michael shouldn’t do that.”
A lot of teams come to Arsenal planning to be solid and hard to beat, but few have parked the bus quite as blatantly as Stoke City did yesterday. Arsenal finally broke the resistance with a deflected free kick from Lukas Podolski, but the linesman tried to incorrectly rule the goal out for offside. The referee overruled his assistant, and it was the correct decision, but Tony Pulis is unhappy (there’s a surprise) because he thinks the Arsenal players influenced Chris Foy’s decision.
“The disappointing thing for me is the number of Arsenal players that surrounded the linesman. I thought that was something you couldn’t do.
Arsenal under Arsene Wenger have generally been regarded as a team that produces great flowing football and have changed the way that the game is played in England. They have also been seen as a bit lightweight sometimes, and Wenger has had his disagreements with managers like Sam Allardyce when teams have set out to bully the Gunners by playing a very physical way. Tony Pulis and Stoke have been one of the main propagators of this approach, but Arsenal can get payback today and put the Potters in their place.
Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is doing brilliantly, if his intention is to alienate people and make as many enemies as possible that is. Arsenal and France defender Laurent Koscielny has become the latest person to join the LSFC (Luis Suarez Fan Club) after he was asked about his favourite and least favourite players by the French newspaper, L’Equipe.
“Who is the forward I hate to face? Suarez. He is tiresome to defend against. He cheats. He pulls your shirt, giving you small blows.
“You always want to give him a kick but you have to be careful not to be red carded.
We must all agree that Arsenal fans always consider Stoke City to be a “dirty” team, which was not helped by that tackle on Aaron Ramsey by Ryan Shawcross, but the Stoke manager Tony Pulis thinks that his team have been unfairly branded, while he thinks that Arsenal get just as many red cards, if not more.
Pulis said: “People talk about us about us being a dirty team, yet we haven’t had as many red cards or I haven’t had as many red cards as a manager as Arsene Wenger has had as a manager,”