A late Saturday kick off at the Bet365, where Arsenal traditionally have problems playing and adapting to the physical style. Mark Hughes sides have always proven to be a hard opposition for Arsene Wenger’s team. And for sure, this game wasn’t any different. An analytical look at both line-ups will point to a Stoke advantage. A back three consisting of two left backs would definitely give hope to any opposing manager; YES PLEASE!!!. The French tactician, thoughtlessly proceeded to field the same back-line which had a shambolic defensive performance at the Emirates, where they conceded three goals.
A bright start by Stoke, who fielded the Spaniard Jese for the first time since his transfer. This investment seemed to pay off immediately as his movement and interplay with Shaqiri forced a save from Petr Cech within the first five minutes of the 1st half. Arsenal tried to react by playing their usual passing game, which put Danny Welbeck in a goal scoring position but the England Striker unfortunately smashes the ball straight at the keeper. This sadly was to be a recurring theme. The two sides seemed to get into a give and take situation, where they both tried to get on the score sheet. The exchange revealed that what was initially perceived as an arsenal weakness was only a matter of time.
Shaqiri pulls up with what looks like a hamstring injury, which is a shame because he was their most dangerous player. Berahino comes in for the injured winger and slots into the ring wing position. Mustafi was rash in tackles on Jesse more than a few times while the young Spanish speedster who shy’s away his defensive duties but is ever willing to charge on a moronic quest up field only to pass back into a crowded midfield ultimately giving the ball away. Ozil was clearly not on the same wavelength with his teammates. He is also not willing to put any effort when it comes to grafting and doing the dirty part of the game. He seems a player fed up with football in general. Once again I feel for Monreal who isn’t been helped by his manager. He is been asked to play in a specialist position, he isn’t qualified or posses any of the required attributes. Arsenal where playing with fire, leaving Fletcher unmarked as stoke swung in a corner, he narrowly misses the target and Arsene Wengers men hang on to a nil nil at the end of the half.
Stoke again start well and with some direct football, Berahino drive into the Arsenal half and gives the ball to Jesse at the edge of the penalty box, Jese slots the ball through Cech’s legs and finds the bottom corner. He scores on his debut, impressive interplay between the two forward, something for Stoke to look forward to in the future. That was the defining moment of the march. Arsenal tried to push forward and get the equalizer but bar a narrow offside decision it could have happened but Alas it wasn’t to be. At the end Stoke took the three points and Wenger only having his stubborn self to blame again. The poor defensive selection by the Manager ultimately cost the away side three points. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘Wenger Out‘banners soon become the norm again. I can categorically say; Nothing has changed in the managerial approach that would suggest an EPL defining season.