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[Player Ratings] Arsenal 1-0 Stoke: Podolski Earns Deserved Win Over Poor Potters

Arsenal overcame a stubborn Stoke City side 1-0 thanks to a deflected free-kick from Lukas Podolski 10 minutes from time. Here are player ratings from the game.

Lukas Podolski

Yet another subdued first half performance. It took us half an hour to get going before we created a few chances towards the end of the first half and were unlucky not to score. However, the tempo didn’t really pick up in the second half as has been the case in previous weeks. Stoke were literally playing with 9 men behind the ball and hoofing it long to Crouch at any given opportunity, and we were struggling to find space to create clear-cut chances.

Eventually their resolve was broken by a deflected free-kick from Lukas Podolski with just 12 minutes left. Far from a vintage performance but we ground out the win. And a vital one it was, especially given the fact Everton drew with Villa and Chelsea lost to Newcastle. A good day for the Gooners. Here are my player ratings:

Arsenal Ratings

Szczesny – 6 – Gets a 6 for turning up. Virtual bystander.

Monreal – 6 – Took his time to settle into the game but showed a lovely piece of skill on the 23rd minute to set up an attack. Also showed he can handle the physical side of things when he shook off a nasty clash of heads that left Walters bleeding. Superb cross almost found Giroud early in the second half. Encouraging first outing overall from the Spaniard.

Mertesacker – 6 – Dealt with Crouch well. A far more assured display after his lackluster performance against Liverpool.

Koscielny – 6 – Forced a decent save from a header before half time and was tested very little at the back. Comfortable afternoon for the Gunners back line.

Sagna – 6 – Spent more time in the Stoke half than ours, which just shows our dominance. Didn’t really offer much in terms of attacking quality though due to lack of space.

Wilshere – 7 – Lovely ball set-up the Oxe just before the break and while he was far from him best, he was still the heart-beat of the team.

Diaby – 6.5 – Showed glimpses of his brilliance on the ball but looked a little rusty at times too.

Arteta – 7 – Great to have him back. Positional sense has been sorely missed in recent weeks and was important in winning possession back quickly on the rare times we lost the ball.

Chamberlain – 6.5 – Missed a golden chance to open the scoring but fired at Begovic from 3 yards out in the first half. Was then unlucky when he forced a good save with a decent right-footed effort shortly after. Fairly lively but eventually subbed.

Walcott – 7 – Arsenal’s best player in the first half when he had the beating of Wilkinson all afternoon, but slightly less effective in the second period. Poor passing wasted a few opportunities but he still looked a real threat.

Giroud – 6 – Should have gone for goal when unmarked towards the end of the first half but elected to head across goal from 8 yards out. Strange decision. Blazed over another chance in the second half. Won a few headers but got little out of the well organised Stoke defence.

Subs:

Podolski – 7 – Got the winner with a deflected free-kick, but they all count!

Cazorla – 6 – Comfortable on the ball, as expected, but no real impact on the game to be honest.

What were your ratings from the game? Get involved in the comments section.

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