I've never been to the Britannia Stadium before, but it strikes me as a place where nobody would really want to go for a day out. It's more of a place to go when you can't afford to go to the Zoo to see monkeys eating their own poo, so you just go to Stoke instead. They've even got a 6ft 8" knob running around that you can throw food at. Stoke it a sort of weird farm with lots of livestock that has been collected from experiments that have gone wrong. Then a ball soaked in bacon grease gets tossed onto the field and they all go mental trying to get at it.
There's something very sad about all this though. No, it's not the risk of rabies, and it's not the fact that hideous creatures are subjected to hilarious acts of mockery for our entertainment. The sad thing is that Arsenal lost to a bunch of foaming-at-the-mouth, flea infested, rancid smelling ogres.
Aside from the fact that Giroud had his leg stomped on not once, but twice throughout the game, and aside from the fact Stoke should have had at least one of their hogs sent off, we really didn't deserve much from that game. The possession was fairly even throughout the 90 minutes, and although we might have got a couple more shots off than the ugly bunch, they still made more of their chances and genuinely threatened our goal more convincingly. A very poor performance from a team that's had a full 7 days rest.
Arsene Wenger received a bit of unwarranted slack this past week for allowing his players to go away by themselves for a couple of days after the Sunderland game, and after the result at Stoke I'm sure that's all going to get brought up again. Managers do it all the time, with Manchester United one that springs to mind for sending Rooney to Dubai because he's sad. So why Arsenal are getting the attention for doing something I feel would be beneficial to the players, I don't know.
However, the once again disappointing display from the Arsenal boys will give fuel to the argument that the players are being spoiled by getting a mini holiday between games. I'm not sure if I agree or not, but the point will be made that they lost their focus while away in sunny places and returned with less of a team cohesion than if they had been on the training ground for those few days.
None of this really matters now though, does it? Chelski beat Fulham, even though I thought Mourinho was going to let them win so they didn't get relegated, so that leaves us 4 points behind them with 10 games to go. Don't forget about Manchester City either, as they now have two games in hand due to their Milk Cup Final this week, and only 2 points behind us. An argument made at the start of the season was our squad depth and players getting tired towards the end of the season, although for most of the season we proved that particular debate void, but now I just wonder if it's all beginning to go pear shaped for us.
If you can't come back from a week of no football (and the Sunderland game wasn't exactly physically demanding either), with the passion to fight for your place at the top of the table, then either the manager isn't motivating his players effectively or the lads are just flat out knackered.
We've got a small matter of the FA Cup Quarter Final next Saturday against Everton. I'm not conceding the Premiership title, but the FA Cup remains our most realistic chance at a trophy right now, so if we can't show up for that then there's no hope. Here's to the Arsenal boys sweeping this one under the rug before getting their rabies shots and getting the hell out of Stoke. At least they only have to travel there once a season. Focus immediately turned to the FA Cup! Come on Arsenal!