Toilet Paper

If you’re a true betting man, you need to do all kinds of research before you place a bet. Most people will go the extra mile, then make a decision with their gut anyway. I find it impossible to bet actual money on the Arsenal though, because it’s harder to overrule my heart.

Looking at Manchester United’s defeat against Everton, you can note easily that they were traveling from Milan and playing Everton at Goodison Park. Everton played a Europa League fixture, but one day earlier. This late into the season, things like these matter. It’s not to say that United couldn’t have broken through, but there is a distinct advantage held by a team like Everton. Everton did extremely well to break through against United (and getting one over their old mate Rooney), and it’s no surprise that against the top three teams in the reverse fixtures, Everton has earned 7 out of 9 points. They’re a good side.

Now, look at our fixture against Stoke. This is what counts against us:

1) We have a lot of injuries.

2) Stoke have already defeated us at the Britannia, albeit against a weakened side.

3) We’ve never defeated Stoke away.

4) At the Britannia, Rory Delap seemingly has never-ending access to towels in order to dry off the ball before throwing it into the box.

5) Stoke get away with certain things merely because of their reputation. Once you’re labeled as a tough, hard-working team, the line between a foul and a yellow card is sometimes blurred. Credit to them that they can take advantage of that.

But here’s what works in our favor.

On Wednesday, Stoke plays Manchester City at the Britannia in the FA Cup replay. That match may have the potential to go into extra time as well. Stoke will absolutely attempt to go all out and win this match. Consequently, due to this replay, I believe Faye will be able to suit up against us and he plays a big part in Stoke’s contain and batter strategy. Regardless, they will feel more fatigue than us on Saturday. That’s a clear fact, whether you let your mind believe it or not.

For that reason, time is ripe to place a stamp on this season.

You’d rather not have to analyze the physical evidence like a bookie, but sometimes it helps to gauge what kind of game we’ll be in for. It’s the same reason managers cite international fixtures as momentum disruptors.

I hope the game between Stoke and City go to extra time, and that Stoke are knocked out on penalties. From an Arsenal perspective, that’ll do nicely.

And one last thing, Ricardo Fuller deserved to get a retrospective red card for his foul on Jamie O’Hara this past weekend, where O’Hara’s shorts were torn after Fuller drag his boot around his groin area. But hey, that’s Stoke. They’re hard working battlers. Everything they do is within the rules.

That’s what toilet paper is good for, wiping the shit from your ass.

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