Arsenal started the season with a loss at home to West Ham but has slowly crept into the title race after winning 3 of their next four games. Wenger has not made any significant additions to the squad this summer, but the game against Stoke showed Arsenal are still a force to reckon with. Stoke have had a dismal start to the campaign and have lost 3 out of the 5 games they have played so far in this season after this 2-0 loss to Arsenal.
Here are the 5 talking points about the match which saw Arsenal win 2-0 over Stoke City.
1. Finishing problems
Arsene Wenger started this game with Theo Walcott as a false 9 in front of the Stokes defense. He was successful in dragging the defense out and running behind the back line. But he did not find the final touch needed to score a goal. He missed a couple of easy chances and needs to do some work on his finishing. However, he did give the hosts the lead in the 35th minute but the scoreline could have easily read 5-0 had Arsenal taken their chances.
2. Jack Butland
After Begovic left to Chelsea, Stoke City fans would have been anxiously waiting for his replacement. Jack Butland in this game proved his mettle with some outstanding glove work in between the posts. He saved Stoke from an embarrassing scoreline and was awarded the man of the match for his heroics. He kept Stoke in the match for a long time before conceding the second goal to Giroud in the 85th minute. He, however, looks an able replacement to Asmir Begovic who was loved by the fans in Stoke.
3. First home goal and a win
Surprisingly, the goal from Walcott in this match was the first goal this season for the Gunners at the Emirates. They were not able to score in the previous matches against West Ham and Liverpool but could have easily scored 5 in this game. This will give them great confidence going into the Champions League fixture in mid-week. This was also their first home victory and Arsenal now have taken 10 points from 5 games and are placed third in the table behind the two Manchester clubs.
4. Stoke dismal
Stoke’s disappointing run of form continued at the Emirates as they were beaten high and dry by a side growing in confidence. Arsenal put Stoke through a lot of misery throughout the game and gave them no chance to settle down. The intimidating atmosphere in the Emirates along with the fluidity of the Arsenal players saw Stoke lose convincingly to the hosts. They are now the last placed team in the Barclays Premier League table with just 2 points from 5 games.
5. Arsenal defense
The most important part of Arsenal’s game last night was their defensive stability. Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista the Brazilian started their second consecutive game at the back for Arsenal and showed some decent defensive attributes. Both players complimented each other and gave that extra bit of calmness that seemed to be missing from Arsenal’s games previously. Wenger will be more than happy with the clean sheet and will try to emphasize on the positives of this game before the European games.
Arsenal fans will be happy to have seen both their strikers on the scoresheet in this game. However, they cannot let any complacency set in as this is one of the most competitive and exhausting leagues in the world.
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