Arsenal vs Stoke City, 3-1: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on October 23, 2011 22:00
Arsenal again needed Robin van Persie as they eased past Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium by three goals to one.
After positive results against Sunderland and Marseille, with the latter allowing us to go top in Group F of the Champions League, we today dominated the Potters, scored three goals, took all three points and afforded the luxury to indeed rest the mighty Robin who came on with 25 minutes to go and did just what we all wanted him to do.
If we are to ignore the conceded goal for now, the rest was simply brilliant and we will approach the Chelsea game with the right confidence and the right position in the table as this win moves us closer and closer to the Top Four and why not, maybe something more than just that.
As ultimately what we witnessed today is a very solid Arsenal side, improving in almost every area of the pitch but still in trouble when set-pieces are to be defended. If when defending set-pieces we manage to keep our focus for the full 90 minutes – and make no mistake this is more than possible since we were very brave to clear Rory Delap’s long throw-ins – then we will finally be “there” and I’m optimistic we’re not that far away from perfection.
As for individual performances, one cannot ignore Gervinho’s performance, his runs, his goal, his assists. His game would have been archived as “perfect” had he not slept when Ryan Shawcross made a run behind him when Stoke equalised but that’s a weakness of his game that I’m more than sure he will correct in the near future.
To conclude with the “negatives” and hence with the conceded goal, fair enough, it wasn’t a foul but since the referee blew his whistle, it was our job to focus and make sure not to give any space to the Stoke players, a mistake that Gervinho made as he allowed Ryan Shawcross to run behind him.
I mean if someone places a time bomb in your hand and instead of throwing it away you wait for it to explode, granted, you blame the individual who placed it in your hand but if still alive you will have to ask why you did nothing to avoid the danger. In fact, Arsene mentioned all this in his post-match press conference and I loved what he said because it is important to identify problems in order to, of course, solve them.
Theo Walcott is another concern. You look at Gervinho, you look at Andrey Arshavin, in a way you look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and you see players who bring more than Theo does on the pitch and with Drogba-less Chelsea coming up in a week, it’s time to accept the fact that the Englishman has to be relegated on the bench so as to start other, better players.
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Szczesny: 6 – Solid game but again inexplicable the way he came dashing from his goal in the 66th minute even if Johan Djourou had the situation under control. It was still 1-1 and a mistake there could have been costly. What was he thinking? Also I didn’t like how he didn’t accept Cameron Jerome’s apology as the Stoke man immediately apologised for his actions and it would have been nice to see some maturity from our #1.
Mertesacker: 6,5 – Made a number of top-class blocks in the heart of the defence but should have done better, much better, when we conceded as he was the one who was marking Peter Crouch but shifted his focus towards the ball as soon as the Englishman ran goalwards.
Koscielny: 7,5 – Another top-class performance from the Frenchman who made a number of perfect blocks including the brilliant header for which the referee incorrectly blew his whistle and a fantastic block to deny Kenwyne Jones immediately after we scored the third.
Djourou: 6 – So and so on the right although he tried to improvise as he made a number of good angled runs. He carelessly, however, gave it away in the 36th minute, a mistake very similar to the one Carl Jenkinson made against Sunderland last week.
Santos: 6,5 – Very good game from Andre on the left. Very strong in defence – always alert of what was going on in front him – and of course always available when we surged forward.
Ramsey: 7 – Fantastic first half in which he first found Gervinho in the 14th minute, was unlucky not to score with a very good strike in the 21st minute and of course the one to produce the phenomenal pass for Gervinho when we took the lead. Faded away a little in the second half but this is much, much better from the Welshman.
Song: 6,5 – Like Wednesday, Alex made a number of uncharacteristic mistakes when on the ball but he was again very useful when helping the defensive department, credit for that.
Arteta: 6,5 – Improving. Kept it simple in midfield and made himself available when we were on the attack and was also an asset when we had to defend.
Gervinho: 8,5 – Brilliant run in the 14th minute to meet Aaron’s pass but should have maybe done better with his chest, the one to set-up Aaron minutes later for the aforementioned shot and gave us the lead after yet another brilliant run. But there’s more as he won a corner on minute 31 after a very good run on the left and of course the one to set-up Robin for both goals in the second half.
Walcott: 5,5 – Here we are, archiving another Theo Walcott game as a disappointing one. Made only one great run, in the 18th minute, delivering a very good cross with no-one in the box but besides that, not much from the Englishman who was correctly substituted in the second half.
Chamakh: 4 – Not sure why we let Nicklas Bendtner go to keep the Moroccan as he was yet again shocking before the substitution. You would expect him to do better, much better with some of the chances he was gifted. No surprise that after only five minutes Robin did more than he did in the 66 minutes he was on the pitch.
Arshavin: 6,5 – Very lively, you could see that we were much, much faster when on the attack as the Russian was not shy to dribble his way and created space for the likes of Gervinho, Aaron Ramsey and Robin van Persie.
van Persie: 8,5 – What more can you ask for? Came on in the 66th minute and gave us all three points with the help of Gervinho. Is he the only world-class player in our squad? Maybe. For sure is that it was nice to see that Arsene’s gamble paid off, top move from our manager to rest him today.
Frimpong: No Vote – Too little to rate although very dangerous the way he gave the ball away with his first touch.