Top of the Player Ratings, PEA and Lacazette Gel and hopefully help send Stoke down.

Hopefully another nail in Stoke’s relegation coffin….

I attended this game, and it was good to be back at our home again.

I don’t go as often as I wish to, but I do my best. Our ground, despite being 12 years old, still holds up well in both English and global terms. It’s a testament to the good in Arsenal – grandness, initiative, innovation, and standing out. The fact that our N17 post code-dwelling friends want similar shows how they follow always in our footsteps.

 

As for this game, Stoke needed the win, and to be fair the scoreline does not denote ease at all.

This was a game of two halves, really. At least in terms of our performance.

Stoke played well in the opening periods, and they had a chance in the early minutes, which went just beyond the post.

And they also had some brief headers from Shawcross, no less.

In the first half though, our play was sloppy, uninspired, and slow. It was as if we were not up for it, and looked adrift. Stoke, whilst naturally needing the points, were more progressive and possibly lacked sharpness in the final third.

If scoring our players for this half, I’d give all of them a 3 or 4. Ospina was OK, since he managed to hold onto high balls well. But overall, the team lacked drive and incisiveness.

The second half was different, as we did look to up the tempo.

Welbeck, PEA, and Elneny all had chances, but a mix of bad positioning and finishing cost here. This changed, however, when Lacazette came back. We finally got to see PEA and him together. And they were pretty good in fairness.

Lacazette brought some extra drive and pace, and PEA had a good chance from an Ozil throughball. He didn’t score, though it was our more fluid attack that brought our first goal. Ozil was fouled and PEA scored from the penalty spot.

PEA then got his brace, with a cool volleyed finish towards the bottom right of their goal. Lacazette finished off with a penalty, which he won, and strangely PEA didn’t insist he got his hat-trick.

Overall, it was a good win, but not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests.

 

Impressions/player ratings

 

As aforementioned, Stoke played well in the first half. Though I genuinely believe that we allowed them to. We were sluggish, but the international break is not an excuse. I’m sure Stoke may have had a number of players who were on international duty. The other top clubs around the world, let alone Europe, did too. I think it was more symptomatic of our general mentality, in that we can be weak and inconsistent at times.

Wenger is not known for giving harsh half-time dressing downs. But we did change, and possibly the players realised the importance of getting the win.

Stoke didn’t have many chances in the second half, though Shaquri did hit the post from a corner. Other than that, and for Stoke’s detriment, they didn’t care (seemingly) about getting the win.

Possibly once Lacazette came on, our fluidity in the attack was too much to handle. Moreover, Ozil stepped up and did well to win the penalty. Was it a penalty? I believe so, though Stoke’s manager Lambert says otherwise. It’s said that their defender got the ball before getting Ozil, and I couldn’t see it properly at the game. To quote our manager “I didn’t see it….”

I’m happy for the win and putting another nail in Stoke’s Premier League coffin.

OSPINA

7 Managed to handle Stoke’s crosses and shots
BELLERIN 6 Defended well but didn’t really take the last man on as often as he should have
CHAMBERS 7 Handled their attack well
MUSTAFI 8 Looked very strong and made several last-ditch tackles
MONREAL 7 Usual dependable self
WILSHERE 6 Tried to create things, especially in the second half
ELNENY 7 Was his usual solid self
RAMSEY 7 Looked to get forward when required
WELBECK 6 Worked hard and looked to stretch their defence
OZIL 7 Poor in the first half, good in second, and did well to win the penalty
PEA 9 Didn’t get the service in the first half, but in the second he was sharp.
LACAZETTE 8 Looked very capable and linked up well with PEA.
MKHI 5 Didn’t have much chance to influence the game
XHAKA 5 Didn’t influence the game that much

In summation, it was a game of two halves, but it was pleasing to win. We turned it on when required, and that is that, really.

Only negative is that our good friends from the N17 postal code WON at Stamford Bridge for the first time since Gazza’s heyday. I guess the number three club in London has to win at the number two capital club sometime, eh?

And with the final word here on Stoke, I’m glad we won’t hear “he walks with a limp!” anymore. It’s pretty comical, considering Ramsey has achieved things Shawcross may never do. FA Cup wins (and winners), lauding it in the Euros, and being linked with Barca and Man United. The only foreign tournament Shawcross will impress in is one with his mates or family on his holidays.

The next time, hopefully, when they’re in London, it will be visiting Brentford and QPR. And certainly not us.

Man of the match

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

His brace shows his value to us. The first was a penalty, rectifying the City miss. And the second was a classic poacher’s goal. Moreover, he showed a lot of charity in giving his potential hat-trick to Lacazette. We have the potential for a grand partnership for next season, and the remaining PL games at the least.

I will say that PEA can, and nay will, outscore Kane. To get 5 goals in 7 PL games thus far, which could have been more had he converted the City pen, what more can one ask?

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One Response to Top of the Player Ratings, PEA and Lacazette Gel and hopefully help send Stoke down.

  1. Victor Thompson April 3, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

    Pretty much agree with this but in regard to the penalty for the foul on Ozil. There have been many contrasting opinions on the issue of whether Martins Indi got his toe to the ball before Ozil did and therefore it should not have been a foul. I understand that Mark Halsey said that it was Ozil who initiated the contact and therefore it was a wrong call.

    Well just to correct Mr. Halsey; I would remind him that Ozil was running with the ball and was just about to shoot when Indi made his challenge. At the same time, I think it was Joe Allen who tried to challenge from behind. The replays showed that Indi`s toe did make contact with the ball a mini second before Ozil`s foot, but his leg carried on to cross Ozil and at the very moment Ozil made contact with the ball, the player behind him stood on his right foot and brought him down. The combination of Indi`s leg in front of him and Allen`s foot on his at full speed ensured that Ozil was sure to fall. He was the meat in a sandwich between the two Stoke players.

    It was almost impossible for the referee to analyse the mechanics of the incident and to make a split second decision on the issue of who reached the ball first. Ozil`s progress into the penalty box was entirely natural and he was running at full speed, the direction of his fall was consistent with a tackle from the side and the added contribution from Allen who clearly stood on his foot added to the fall. Unless he saw clearly that Indi was a clear first to the ball, the referee like 90% of the people in the stadium would have thought that in making a genuine attempt to score whilst on the run, Ozil had been fouled.

    Another factor for awarding a foul is that in a situation where the attacking player has possession of the ball and he is challenged by two defenders at the same time; and if they both make their challenges from the side in the first case and behind the attacker in the other, then the attacker is inevitably going to be sandwiched between them. Even if one of them did get a miniscule part of the ball first the intention of the two players was to tackle the attacker at the same time. That is what happened. In any other part of the pitch, it was a foul and therefore as it was a foul in the penalty box, it was a penalty.

    Supposing Indi had clearly made contact with the ball before Ozil, and Allen stamps on Ozil`s foot, it is still a foul by Allen just as it would be anywhere else than in the box.

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