Stoke City v. Arsenal
Oh, Stoke City, you say? OK, then. Prepare yourself: this preview is going to get very ugly, very quickly.
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.
Prediction: Arsenal 5 (goals) Stoke City 4 (red cards and felonious arrests)