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.
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.
|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
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?