Welcome back Ryan - we've been waiting for you

By Avenell Dave

With the snow still coming down out the window just a few miles from N5, I had to check this morning before realising that things aren't so bad that today's game will be called off.

You never can tell, not because of the pitch but in terms of the safety of fans around the ground and getting to North London.

Couldn't be a more treacherous journey for Stoke fans - and boy how they deserve it!

Needless to say, despite our previous home match aberrations I do think we'll win this afternoon - and with Ch*vski coming up, it's a chance for some of the senior players to get match fit ahead of a game we simply have to win.

Of course, a lot of attention will be on Stoke's dirty duo - Tony Pulis and Ryan Shawcross.

The manager took umbrage earlier this season when Arsene Wenger claimed that his side's style was more akin to rugby than football and who can blame him?

Stoke are everything that is wrong with football - and they revel in it.

Interestingly, for those of you who have never been to the new stadium, it's built almost on a hill with exposed corners, making it even more tricky for the visting players to get used to usually-blustery conditions.

Then of course there is our friend Ryan Shawcross.

Initially I felt for him when he injured Aaron Ramsey - mistimed tackles do happen after all.

But his record speaks for itself and we have to remind him at every opportunity that his limited ability has no place in the Premier League.

He continually seems to assault opposition players and while I really don't think it's malicious, there is a clumsiness about him that puts careers at risk.

Of course Pulis will defend him the whole time - as he should as his manager - but for too long the ex M*nure defender has got away with it and I hope his treatment by our fans today reminds him of his responsibilities to fellow professionals and highlights his misdemeanours once again to the masses.

The fact that he gained more sympathy than Ramsey after THAT challenge says it all about the madness of the media at times.

On to the game this afternoon and I think it's vital that RvP and Cesc Fabregas start for us.

Neither was match fit against M*nure on Monday and I read that in the last two calendar years thay have started less than 20 games together.

That's a challenge Wenger needs to address - but it's tough when you have a captain who is so vital to the side that he is overplayed, troubling his troublesome hamstrings - and a Dutch striker who is incredibly talented but who I would get rid of for someone more reliable.

Elsewhere Woijech Szczesny must start and never be dropped, Manu Eboue should come in and if we had another fit left back, Gael Clichy would be out for sure. There's a reason why people target our left flank - and he is it.

But I think we'll win today - although I have said that before this season only to be bitten on the bum...

Addict XI


Eboue Djourou Koscielny Clichy (!)

     Fabregas Song Wilshere

     Walcott RvP Nasri

Come on Arsenal!

Who would you like to see turn out for Arsenal this afternoon? Let us know in the comments section...