By Walter Broeckx
The team to start this match was Ospina, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla, Alexis, Giroud. The subs were Szczesny, Bellerin, Flamini, Ramsey, Ozil, Campbell, Walcott.
So 4 changes since the last match with Ospina making his debut in the PL. Coquelin continuing as a defensive midfielder. Giroud taking his place upfront and Koscielny and Debuchy who had a rest in the cup match both starting. Chamberlain also starting again and Monreal at left back.
A first chance for Arsenal when Begovic had to save a shot from Alexis. Rosicky with an infiltration and again a super stop from Begovic. From the resulting corner Stoke cannot clear and Alexis with a new cross and Koscielny head it in from 6 meters out. That was a 1-2 combination as it was Koscielny who won the ball back. 1-0 to The Arsenal after 6 minutes.
Meanwhile Pires and Henry enjoying what they see on the pitch. But no more when Arnautovic pushes Debuchy outside the field and he falls bad and seems to have a serious injury. Bellerin comes on for the unlucky Frenchman. The ref didn’t anything wrong with the mean and unnecessary foul. Another victim from Arsenal and again the PGMO ref see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing. It looked to be a shoulder injury.
Next chance for Arsenal after 15 minutes was a low shot from Chamberlain that just went wide. And 5 minutes later another great stop from Begovic on a hard shot from Giroud who shot wide seconds later. With just under 25 minutes Ospina for the first time in action after a deflected cross that could have gone in. Good difficult stop.
Arsenal completely in control and speeding up when they want. Alexis, who else, on to a lose ball after a combination between him and Rosicky didn’t work out and he cut inside from the left and surprised everyone when he shot at the near angle. Amazing quick feet and Shawcross didn’t know what way it went. 2-0 for Arsenal after 33 minutes.
Minutes later Crouch once again waving his arms around full in the face of Monreal. The 3 monkeys from the PGMO once again in full force. After a few stitches Monreal could continue. Shawcross then stopping Giroud of the ball…3 monkeys stuff. Crouch planting his studs on the foot of Mertesacker… 3 monkeys… At half time it was 2-0 for Arsenal and that was about right.
A few minutes after the break a foul on Chamberlain. Alexis behind the ball and he planted it in the bottom corner, Begovic seemed to stop it but it trickled over the line from Begovic, the post and then again the keeper. .3-0 to the Arsenal after 48 minutes.
Giroud being fouled and Wollsheid gets a yellow card. Finally a Stoke player being warned. Arsenal now seemingly complete in control. Chamberlain with a good run but the cross from Alexis couldn’t find another Arsenal player.
Foul on Alexis ref gives advantage but only Giroud on the left flank so no real advantage. Ref gives a yellow against Cameron when the ball goes out. That is a good decision.
Tackle from behind from Crouch on Coquelin and the yellow card comes out against the Stoke player. A great combination between the Ox and Cazorla leading to a big chance but the Spaniard lobs the ball over the cross bar. That was the last action from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo comes on after 68 minutes.
And a few minutes later Özil makes his return and Giroud comes off. Cazorla seemingly dropping a bit lower on the field after that. Alexis next with a long lob but the ball goes well over. Stoke thought they had a consolation goal but it was ruled out for an offside. When Crouch headed the boll the Stoke player was offside so a correct decision. On the other side Alexis away gives the ball to Theo who drags his shot wide. This should have been the 4-0.
An amazing backpass from Özil who without seeing sees Monral behind his back, but the cross ends up between a bunch of Stoke legs. Özil who could do nothing right for the ref it seems. Whenever he came close to a Stoke player the whistle went but he could be pushed without punishment. Özil then missing a shot with his weaker right foot after being released on the right flank.
Arsenal now playing the match out without really upping the tempo. The match was well won so no need to risk any more legs. Ospina being well awake on a backwards header from Bellerin. And seconds later Oooooooospina with a real great stop on a low shot from Ireland.
A good win from Aresnal and we could afford to play with the hadnbrake on for the last half hour.
Good Old Rosicky proving his worth again. Bellerin becoming better and better and he still has to learn a lot! Theo still being rusty but it will come. Özil being rusty a bit but wait till he gets his game together. Santi once again being great. Coquelin continuing to produce impressive performances. Oooooooospina being excellent.
And Alexis…. what more can you say about this little man. Just say it in the comment section yourself.
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