Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners over Stoke City on Saturday afternoon, in what was a potential banana skin game for the Gunners.
Stoke opened the scoring when Granit Xhaka needlessly elbowed Stoke’s Joe Allen, which Charlie Adam coolly dispatched to Cech’s left. Stoke could’ve gone 2-0 up when brilliant feet from Marko Arnautovic saw him one-on-one with Petr Cech, only for Nacho Monreal to come across and brilliantly block a goal-bound shot. Arsenal equalised when Hector Bellerin – who had only come on as a substitute – was played through by Alexis Sanchez, and pulled back for Theo Walcott for his 100th Arsenal goal.
Arsenal came out from the second half with fire in their belly and they soon carved out a chance from nothing, when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played a ball over the top for Mesut Ozil, who’s header wrong-footed Lee Grant and found the corner of the met. Arsenal soon scored their third goal when Alex Iwobi continued his run on to the ball to cooly slot into the corner of the net. So let’s take a look at the player ratings from the game:
Petr Cech: 6/10
Apart from the penalty, Cech had a pretty quiet afternoon. Stoke were poor in the final third and only gained the lead when Xhaka lost his head.
Gabriel Paulista: 6.5/10
Stokes attacking intent was good, however, Gabriel was solid enough defensively, especially when switched to centre back after Mustafi’s injury. The Brazilian seems to have found new confidence following his stint at right-back, let’s hope he can replicate something similar to when Monreal was played in the middle of defence.
Shkodran Mustafi: N/A
Didn’t play long enough to warrant a rating.
Laurent Koscielny: 7/10
The Frenchman never puts a foot wrong and today was a case of more of the same. His interceptions and tackling are superb, however, he was rarely troubled defensively as Arsenal dominated.
Nacho Monreal: 7.5/10
Monreal started the season off poorly and has really struggled especially at home against quick wingers. Today, however, the Spaniard was superb; he made a crucial tackle to stop Arnautovic making it 2-0.
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
Xhaka passing range is brilliant and really helps Arsenal counter with lightning pace, on the other hand, the Swiss international is guilty of losing his head too much. Today he gave away a stupid penalty and at times his immobility is at times detrimental to Arsenal.
Francis Coquelin: 7/10
Coquelin’s addition in the squad cannot be understated, he is a key part of the team. Defensively, he is our best midfielder, and is key in breaking up the opposition’s attacks. Arsenal don’t really have anyone like him and he proved his importance today.
Theo Walcott: 7.5/10
The Englishman’s pace and runs are enough to cause the best of defences problems. Today, his out to in runs were a constant problem. Eventually, it paid dividends, when his run inside allowed Bellerin to assist him for his 100th goal and a great performance from Walcott who scored his tenth goal of the season.
Mesut Ozil: 6/10
Not the best of performances in the first-half when Arsenal struggled against a resolute Stoke defence, there again, the German’s link up play and calmness on the ball allowed the Gooner’s to be more of a threat attacking wise. His second-half goal was brilliantly taken and wrong-footed Grant.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
Chamberlain has been reborn in the last few weeks and has chipped in with key assists and goals. He constantly runs at defences, which provides variety in Arsenal’s play. His assist for Ozil was superb, it seems The Ox is finally producing in the final third.
Alexis Sanchez: 7/10
This was one of the Chilean’s quieter games, yet he was key in the creation of two of the three goals. His ball for Arsenal’s equaliser was superb, as was his run for Iwobi’s game-killing third goal. We can’t expect him to do everything every week, even though he might expect that of himself.
Hector Bellerin: 9/10
The returning Spaniard changed Arsenal’s attacking play down the right. His constant running down the right flank and his link-up play with Walcott caused Stoke all sorts of problems. He registered an assist with his pull back for Walcott’s goal due to sheer pace, something that may not have happened with Gabriel at right-back. He completely changed the game and therefore deserves my man of the match.
Alex Iwobi: 6.5/10
Came on sealed a rather nervy game with a cool finish, which he has lacked in the past.
Olivier Giroud: N/A
Didn’t play long enough to warrant a rating.
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