Arsenal 3-1 Stoke: 4 Things We Learned, The Hero & The Boo-Boy
Arsenal beat Stoke 3-1 at the Emirates on Sunday. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 things we learned from the game as well as his ‘hero’ and ‘boo boy’ from the game.
Arsenal beat Stoke 3-1 at the Emirates on Sunday to move top of the Premier League. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 things we learned from the game as well as his ‘hero’ and ‘boo boy’ from the game.
Many Arsenal fans gathered outside the Emirates ahead of our match with Stoke, the majority wearing Ozil shirts and desperate to catch a glimpse of the German’s home debut. The home side were dealt a blow with Theo Walcott dropping out of the squad minutes before kick-off with abdominal pains. It meant a debut for 18-year-old Serge Gnabry and a third German for spectator Joachim Löw to see in action.
All the hype surrounding Ozil amounted to the playmaker having an immediate impact. His free-kick early on caused Begovic to palm it away into the path of none other than Aaron Ramsey, who put it away with ease.
Youngster Gnabry looked as if he was struggling down the flank and was the cause for some of our attacks breaking down in the opening stages. This then punished us at the other end, one of Stoke’s few attacks prevailing. Arnautovic rattled the post and the rebound was followed up by the unexpected candidate of Geoff Cameron, it was the first goal in the Premier League for the American.
A response was needed and that is exactly what the Gooners got. Ozil’s corner led to Per Mertesacker heading home for 2-1. Both teams started positively in the second half, Ozil at the height of the action for the home side once again, firing a bullet low down from Wilshere’s header, but Begovic was equal to it.
Another goal did come through Sagna’s header from yet another set piece from Ozil. Arsenal now lead 3-1. A late strike from Ramsey earned a corner but he score remained 3-1 and we were able earn another three points and, just like last week go top if the league!
Our best start to a season in five years and a great result which I will now analyse through the good and bad points as well as the man of the match and the boo-boy.
1. Tactical Changes
With only three players brought in this summer, the squad still has a very familiar look to it. However, we’re a very different outfit on the field to what we’ve been used to seeing in recent years and it’s clear we’ve improved tactically this season (and during much of the second half of last season, too). Against Stoke, we scored from three set pieces and were able to deal with the Potters aerial threat at the other end – this would have been unthinkable 18 months ago.
2. Özil Pulls All the Strings
We may not have seen the best of him yet, but Özil has still shown hints of the kind of quality he possesses. He set two goals up directly from set pieces whilst also causing the opener after his free kick was saved. In total, he created a staggering 7 chances on his own today. Potentially the difference between fourth and top, Özil is creating danger from all areas.
Every time he touched the ball you expect the very best and if we can keep the playmaker fit there is no doubt we will contend for trophies this season.
3. Per Still Needs Work
Despite scoring today, Per Mertesacker still looked like a walking time-bomb at times with his lack of pace causing us issues on more than one occasion. His positional sense and reading of the game often gets him out of trouble, but Cameron’s goal was the product of Sagna being caught sleeping and Per’s poor reactions.
If we are serious about competing this season our defence needs some tweaking and the German is at the heart of that. We must be more alert and aggressive or our quality attacking play will be undone through school-boy errors at the back.
4. Dark Horses?
We must be careful not to get carried away but that comes with great difficulty for any Gooner when we are top of the league. With every other big club suffering stuttered starts we have come through and have won our previous seven games in all competitions. If this form continues, we are certainly going to be dark horses for this year’s league title. However, there is a LONG way to go and we need to keep our key men fit as we have a small squad.
Hero – Mesut Özil
I have already mentioned the German’s performance and he earns this accolade without even completing the full 90 minutes. At the hub of our game, Özil piled the pressure on Stoke and forced attacks through either directly going for goal, slipping passes through the middle or whipping in a pin-point cross.
Boo-Boy – Olivier Giroud
Once again it was difficult to find a bad performance but, once again, unfortunately that burden is awarded to Giroud. He failed to find the target and although he was a handful for the Stoke defence, he just had one of those days where nothing seemed to come off for him. I’m sure he’ll be back though, and he should get a chance to re-charge his batteries in midweek with a well-earned rest.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.
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