By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal team: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Holding, Bellerin, Coquelin, Xhaka, Monreal, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud
On the beach: Ospina, Gabriel, Elneny, Ramsey, Iwobi, Walcott, Welbeck
A long ball from Mustafi finds Alexis but he was offside and wasted the chance anyway. Arsenal monopolizing the ball in the opening stages and Stoke defending in numbers. A corner from Özil finds Mustafi but his header is tipped over by the keeper. That would have crept in. Monreal is found by Özil in a promising position but his control lets him down. Arsenal dominating but still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
A cross from Bellerin finds Monreal but this time the post rescues Stoke and they can clear the loose ball. Stoke give away a corner but the assistant decides a goal kick. Mustafi then dives in a bit wild and gets a yellow card. The free kick goes over. The first shot from Stoke and we play 29 minutes. No score so still 0-0 after 30 minutes.
Stoke now with a dangerous run in the Arsenal penalty area but Koscielny clears the danger. Alexis can pick up a ball when Giroud is fouled but his effort only finds the side net. Again the assistant not giving Arsenal a corner when a Stoke player last touches the ball. Arsenal keeps on dominating and then Coquelin sends Bellerin away and his low cross finds Giroud who pushes it over the line. GOAL!!!! 0-1 to The Arsenal after 42 minutes. Finally!
We go in at halftime with a 0-1 advantage.
Stoke trying to go forward a bit more in the second half because of the score at half time. But not much to do for Cech as a result. But after some 6-7 minutes Arsenal take control of the ball again. Alexis plays a wonderful ball in the path of Özil who is one on one with the keeper and makes no mistake. GOAL!!!!! 0-2 to The Arsenal after 55 minutes. A long 1-2 between Özil and Alexis and a lovely ball lofted over the keeper from the German playmaker.
Giroud gets an elbow in the face from not that type of guy Shawcross. Dean his hair hanging in front of his eyes so he missed it. Giroud can carry on after some treatment. Stoke get the ball after a dropped ball and Arnautovic goes past Holding but his cross is put wide from close range. Stoke starts to play like Stoke now with Crouch up front, fouling the keeper on corners… As a result Arsenal under some pressure and conceding a few corners. Cech has to palm a header away after such a corner. Crouch completely misdirects the next header. Dean letting all things go and Arnautovic again go past Holding and Crouch finishes the cross.WITH HIS HAND!!!! But Dean and the assistant didn’t see it. 1-2 after 67 minutes. A completely illegal goal but well…. Dean….. and an assistant that has been blind all first half with corner decisions….
Mustafi stays down in the Stoke penalty area with a head injury…Stoke counter and Dean let play continue. Lucky Cech can stop the shot. Alexis signals to the bench that he can’t carry on after being on the receiving end of some fouls. Arsenal still 1-2 in front after 75 minutes.
Holding dribbles past a few players and gives the ball to Bellerin who plays it on to Alexis and his low shot goes under the studs of Shawcross and hobbles in the net. GOAL!!!! 1-3 to The Arsenal after 76 minutes.
Alexis goes off and Ramsey comes on immediately after. Ramsey immediately has a shot but the keeper saves. Holding then makes a foul and gets a yellow card. The Stoke player fell badly on his arm and needs treatment. Arnautovic is the player. Couldn’t happen to a better on. After all it was him who ended the career of Debuchy with a nasty push in the hoardings.
Arsenal attacks and Özil with a great ball to Ramsey who stuggled a bit with his control, he looked to lose the ball, but recovered it and his low cross was finished by Giroud! GOAL!!!! 1-4 to The Arsenal after 80 minutes.
Arnautovic goes off. Will he suffer the same fate as Debuchy? Is it bad to wish him this? Ramsey really up for it and full of energy. Welbeck comes for Özil after 82 minutes. A very very very very very wise move from Wenger. Walcott also comes on for Giroud at the same time. Giroud was having second thoughts about that, I think he was thinking of a possible hattrick…?
Ramsey with a failed backheel gives Stoke the chance to attack and Cech needs to make a superb save to stop the shot from Stoke. Meanwhile the stands look empty with 5 minutes to go. Arsenal with a lovely combination at the right flank with lots of players involved but Stoke can clear the ball in the end. Crouch comes in with a flying tackle and even Dean thinks this is too much and gives a yellow card. Arsenal now trying to be very careful with their limbs and avoids the duels a bit. This leading to giving Stoke the ball a bit more but the defenders can mostly clear the danger that is thrown at them. No need to risk any more injuries with this score line.
If it wouldn’t have been for the illegal Stoke goal we would have probably trashed them even more. In Moaninho land we win 0-4, in Dean’s PGMO land we win 1-4.
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