Stoke City v. Arsenal: match preview

AIN'T NOTHIN' GONNA BREAK MY STRIDE, I'M RUNNING AND I WON'T TOUCH GROUND, OH NO, I GOT TO KEEP ON MOVIN'

Stoke City v. Arsenal
Sunday 26 August, 2012, 8:30am ET
Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Form: Stoke City D / Arsenal D
TV: FSC

Oh, Stoke City, you say? OK, then. Prepare yourself: this preview is going to get very ugly, very quickly.

To any Stoke supporters who've taken a break from watching barnyard animal snuff films, who managed to luckily slap the keyboard enough times to correctly spell "Stoke City" in Google and somehow stumbled upon this post, I'll save you the words below and summarize it in order for you to understand it better: HURR BURR DURR LERPADERP.

Fun fact to start this off: Their kit manufacturer is Le Coq Sportif, whose logo is a rooster which makes this, far-and-away, the most appropriate of marriages between a club and manufacturer in the history of, well, lots of stuff.

Away at newly-promoted Reading last Saturday in the opening week of the league saw Stoke clog around the pitch in their red-and-white striped kits that make them appear as if they're escaped convicts from the Ronald McDonald Federal Penitentiary, committing an excessive amount of fouls and accumulating yellow and red cards that we've grown to expect from this gaggle of low-performing circus carnies. Thanks to a gaffe committed by Reading's keeper, Adam Federici, in the 34th minute, a slightly-deflected-but-still-savable-shot by Michael Knightly put Stoke up 1-0. However, this is Stoke we're talking about, which means they're prone to get in their own way by virtue of being frequent fliers on Con Air; Dean Whitehead received his sixth second yellow card of the match by tripping up Gareth McClarey in the penalty box; the ensuing penalty kick was converted moments later that led to the entire solar system erupting in cheers.

Arriving in the general population at Stoke is the aforementioned Knightly, ex-Houston Dynamo Geoff Cameron and some guy named Jamie Ness. Released on parole are Ricardo Fuller, Jonathan Woodgate, Danny Collins, along with other players who are, as I type this up, probably out getting caught on CCTV looting and destroying public property.

Stoke's performances in the activity yard which sits in the middle of their four cellblock units that make up Britannia Stadium dropped from 34 points gained in the 2010-2011 season, to 29 points gained in the 2011-2012 season. However, they still managed a respectable seven wins to match 8 draws that countered 4 losses. But no one cares at all about that since this is Stoke we're talking about, so let's get to the fun stuff: Stoke finished 20th out of 20 in last year's EPL Fair Play table, which calculates a cumulative score based on factors such as the amount of yellow and red cards accumulated, respect towards opponents and referee, and behavior of team officials and their supporters. They managed to finish lower than both clubs that employed Joey Barton last season. This comes at the shock of no one and further perpetuates the stereotype that Tony Pulis has only one goal when it comes to formulating his highly-defensive tactics on a weekly basis, and that's taking his apparent sexual frustrations out by causing as much chaos and grief to everyone involved in the match to the point his opposition will break and allow a freak goal or two that will propel his side to an undeserved draw or, if the stars are aligned and in the mood to hate on everyone, a win.

Whenever Arsenal go up against this criminal-minded band of boxcar drifters, I always draw in an extra-long breath and hope we manage to get every one of our players out of their with their limbs attached. As you know, this isn't always the case. Naturally, due to years and decades of whippet abuse, Stoke supporters still find the main culprit for that incident was Arsene Wenger's preferred style of play and passing rather than Ryan Shawcross. Which is exactly the sort of verbal and written diarrhea you'd hear from a collective who lack evolutionary brains due to the centuries of incestual relations that's befallen their family telephone pole.

Now, I normally wouldn't write such a preview like this about a club as mediocre at the sport, as well as life in general, as Stoke is, but there's no SBN Stoke blog because people who support them lack rudimentary reading, writing, comprehension and thinking skills. Therefore, I'm not too worried that any of their supporters will say anything that'll legitimately concern me, much less be able to figure out how to create a SBN commenting account. In addition, other things we tend to take for granted like routine urine and bowel continence trip them up on the regular, so I really shouldn't be as shocked as I still am that AN ENTIRE STADIUM FULL OF THEIR SUPPORTERS BOOED AARON RAMSEY EVERY TIME HE TOUCHED THE BALL THIS PAST APRIL (let that marinate for a second, just so you can realize how incredibly stupid that was). This is a much different sort of dislike, for me, than Spurs; while Tottenham are below us in every which way possible, they still come off as a mostly-rational bunch, no matter how deluded their beliefs are towards their own inferior club. One cannot simply say the same for Stoke, in any situation, in the history of forever. There isn't any other club I would rather see relegated down to the lowest level of football in England than this bunch, simply because they are some of the worst examples of "club" and "supporters" that you can trudge up from the bottom of a fecal matter depository. Anyone who willingly chooses to associate themselves with this club, in any way, can go straight to Hell. And by "straight to Hell", I mean down the street from whatever burning, rat-infested dumpster they take up residence.

Beer of the Week:

Greatriver483_medium

Great River 483 Pale Ale. Thanks to the both the national craft beer boom over the past few years, along with the state of Iowa changing their beer laws regarding ABV limits, there's been a slow bubbling of great breweries opening up in Iowa. Great River Brewery, from Davenport, Iowa, is leading the charge along with Toppling Goliath to show that good beer from the state can be made. This hop-forward pale ale, both in the floral nose and in the bitter citrus taste, was the perfect refresher for this late-summer humid afternoon. What's nice about this beer is that the ABV comes in at only 5.3%; while I love huge beers, having the ABV low allows the hops and malt - which were blended fantastically together - to shine without having a third ingredient, pure unadulterated alcohol heat, to disrupt the recipe. I first discovered Great River last winter when I sampled their incredible Redband Stout, which easily found its way to the top of my favorite coffee stouts, and I look forward to seeing them grow their product and distribution.

(also: notice the name of the island on the can)

A Special Note From an Arsenal Shareholder:

612px-misterusmanov_medium

via upload.wikimedia.org

Dear Zee Short Fuse,

Please do zee listen! I bring zee news that ees good to all who love Arsenal whole life like me. As little boy who grow up under fist of iron oppression, I come to do zee same left freedom gate thing from Arsehole Stan who hold you in tiny chicken cage and make fun of you while saying bwak bwak bwak noise while collecting ticket season fees and then stick in big pant pocket. Under my rule ownership, no longer will zee Captain of club leave for rival. Even if he want to do zee retire on beach with drink zhat has umbrella straw, I will force him to play for zee best club in world while paying him fee that make him rich beyond dreams zhat are wild. If I were to do owner stuff, I would never let Alex Song go, because, err, well his dad sell me cut-rate share to get here in first place and I would do zee seeing fit he would not walk to Barcelona. Because his feet would bark like dog if he do zhat.

Yours In Excellence,

Alisher Zee Fantastic

Prediction: Arsenal 5 (goals) Stoke City 4 (red cards and felonious arrests)

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