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Stoke Preview: With Van Persie & Koscielny Out I’m Worried About This Game

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We are back to the grind of the English Premier League, with a match against Stoke City tonight at the Emirates Stadium. This match was postponed from December when the country was covered in snow.

With Arsene Wenger’s news that both Van Persie and Koscielny will miss the match, I am a little worried about the consequences for the team. Van Persie is the league’s top scorer in 2011 and we will certainly miss his goals up front. However it is the loss of Koscielny that is making me worry. Djourou and Kos has formed a good partnership and in the absence of Vermaelen remain the two best centre-backs that we have. Djourou will definitely be partnered with Squillaci and this partnership will come under extreme examination by the bully boys from Stoke City.

The game plan of the Potters is very traditional but successful against teams like us. We have always been susceptible to the high ball and tall center-forwards. In Stoke City’s line-up, they have two giants in Jones and Carew. There is no doubt that both will feature in the match to take advantage of the long bombs from Rory Delap. I just am not confident with Squillaci’s role in defense. Although he started well at the beginning of the season, he seems to have deteriorated at the turn of the year after returning from injury. The only saving grace for me is having Wojciech in goal because he is definitely more commanding than Almunia.

If we are going to keep our title hopes alive, this game against Stoke will be critical. Don’t forget Spurs are not far behind and anything less than a win will make it really uncomfortable for the Gunners at the tail end of the season when we have to visit White Hart Lane.

Submitted by The Arsenal Kid

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