Knuckledraggers, Silent Stan and that faint glimmer of hope

By Avenell Dave

With victory confirmed last Sunday, we all stood outside the pub near the ground and talked about what might have been.

A couple of draws turned into wins, a couple of leads sustained and the title could already be heading for us.

But football isn't a computer game, there is no reset button and hopefully Arsene Wenger has realised that he needs a couple of strong characters in the side to help the others when heads drop, as even Wenger has admitted was the case since the Carling Cup final.

One confident win early on after Wembley and things could have been very different.

While Wenger and Jack Wilshere have voiced their belief that things aren't quite over yet - and it's not impossible to predict a draw on Sunday between the Chavs and M*nure and then a slip-up against Everton and Blackburn respectively, it's still a tall order to hope that we could claw back the deficit.

It's going to be a difficult occasion for Aaron Ramsey. He's only just coming back to full fitness and I suspect Wenger would have left him out if Cesc was available.

But with our captain still injured, Ramsey will start and there will be a lot of focus on how he deals with the attention as well as how Knuckledragger Shawcross conducts himself after his continual assaults on Arsenal players.

Stoke are safe, have one eye on the FA Cup final and while players should be trying to prove that they are worthy of a starting position, I suspect they'll play within themselves to make sure they don't get injured as Matthew Etherington has done in recent weeks.

No doubt our away following will give Shawcross and Pennant a rough time and it would be great to see Thomas Vermaelen back if he's fit enough and Johann Djourou isn't risked, but the main thing is to come away with all limbs intact and three points in our pockets.

As I write, Stan Kroenke's document detailing the share offer hasn't yet been made public and you do have to hope that after the week we've had, it will address the issues that fans are concerned about.

It's not beena great time to be in the Arsenal press office, I'm sure, but if Kroenke makes positive noises about the fanshare scheme, his vision for the team which involves some speculation and ambition and not just a repeat of the mistakes that have made us nearly men once again, it will give some sense of renewed optimism for the season ahead.

I really don't think many season ticket holders will give up their seats on a matter of principle even if the increase in prices will stretch us all.

But the truth is, we know so little about Silent Stan and why he wanted to get involved in Arsenal and a few well chosen comments and explanations could turn around the mood of despair and disillusionment about how the club is being run and the lack of consideration being made to the fans. 

Addict XI

Szczesny

Sagna Vermaelen Koscielny Gibbs

Song Wilshere Ramsey

Walcott RvP Arshavin

Who do you think should start against Stoke on Sunday? Let us know...