Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal review
Premier League – Bet 365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent
Saturday 19th August 2017
Stoke and Arsenal have no love lost between them, and it showed with Stoke getting a win here.
They didn’t rough Arsenal up, akin to years prior, but they managed to squeeze behind the Arsenal defence after half-time, and soak up immense Arsenal pressure for most of the second-half.
For Stoke fans, it was as much about getting their first win of the season as it was “doing the Wenger”. For Arsenal fans, it was a mix of “same old Arsenal” and poor refereeing decisions.
With Man United and Liverpool winning, and Spurs and Chelsea playing tomorrow, it was an opportune game to get some headway among the other top teams.
Arsenal looked very sharp in their build-up play. Though despite chances for Bellerin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Lacazette, and Welbeck, they couldn’t break through and get the opener.
Bellerin, via TV replays, looked like he may have been fouled by Zouma, though the referee did not acknowledge it.
Moreover, Stoke had a reasonable chance with Shawcross, though he could not direct his header.
In approach play alone, Arsenal was as good as they have ever been. But they needed to step up the game, and be more penetrating in the second-half.
Arsenal switched off to allow Jese to score, with a low drive past Cech at 47’.
Though after that, it was virtually one-way traffic to the Stoke goal.
Lacazette, Bellerin, Welbeck, Giroud, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain all had chances to score, though Lacazette had a seemingly legal goal disallowed.Stoke threatened on the counter-attack, but were clearly opting to “park the bus” and protect their lead.
Wenger attempted to change to a back four, with Iwobi, Walcott and Giroud coming on in replace of Lacazette, Xhaka, and Kolasinac.
In the end though, it was not enough to stop a defeat.
Stoke fans got to “do the Wenger”, and this time Wenger’s substitutions/tactical changes didn’t pay off. To be fair, Stoke had some bad refereeing decisions also, though it’s a poor result for Arsenal, even if it’s only the second game of the season.
Wenger out? More banners?
Will Arsenal Fan TV make good viewing post-match, for the haters?
I really don’t know.
Part of me is thinking and feeling “same old Arsenal”. They dominate the first half in possession and clear-cut opportunities, and lacked the sharpness to kill it off.
However, there were legitimate unjust incidents. Had Lacazette’s “goal” stood, then who knows what would have happened. BT Sport and even NBC both said it was a penalty on Bellerin in the first-half. So there were some issues that Wenger certainly would cite as unjust.
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Though the same sexy approach play was evident, an inability to finish the game off and utilise the possession well was also apparent.
It’s too early to get back on the Wenger Out banner train. However, the need to be more incisive, amidst bad refereeing decisions, is self-evident.
But is it really same old Arsenal?
Was it just bad luck? Or was it symptomatic of issues we’ve had for YEARS? Possibly a mix of both. Are we exhibiting the same bad mentality as before? Maybe.
Or was Wenger unlucky? He did seek to change things tactically before the end, and it didn’t pay off. There is no guarantee it ever would, right?
We will see, though it’s sad to see the same fights and associated points at the game post-match.
Arsenal Man of the Match
Oxlade-Chamberlain. He CANNOT leave for Chelsea, or we will regret it. He provided good width and crosses, and was a continual pest for the Stoke’s defence.