Arsenal have had their ups and downs this season, with too many of the latter and not enough of the former. And one of the very worst, for me, was the first 45 minutes of the Premier League clash with our regular tormentors Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium around a month ago.
If we had managed to complete our second half comeback against the Potters, then maybe the memory of that terrible half would not be quite so painful, but as it is, the rugby team got their chance to gloat and will come into the return match at the Emirates on Sunday with confidence high and with a belief that they can do the double over us.
But Arsenal will be just as determined to get our revenge and there are a couple of big reasons to believe that we will. One is the fact that we should be able to name a full strength back four, unlike the away game when we had Bellerin at right back and Chambers in the middle. And with Flamini back in the centre of midfield, there should be no repeat of the limp defending that saw Stoke race into an early lead and completely dominate us at the back.
The biggest factor, though, could be having Theo Walcott back at the other end. With Welbeck looking doubtful, the pace of Walcott could be crucial in giving Stoke too much to handle. With Giroud’s suspension over and Alexis on one flank, the addition of Theo means that Stoke will have too many problems to cope with.
Also, having Walcott available again means that the Ox can cover for Ramsey in midfield. I know we should not put pressure on him and not expect too much after a year off with injury, but I think Arsenal will really start to see just what we have been missing, starting on Sunday. What do you think Gooners?