BPL Season 2015/2016: Arsenal 2 - 0 Stoke City
Review by a Malaysian Gooner
I didn't manage to watch the game before the international against Newcastle United as I was at Bersih 4 for over 34 hours but fortunately, our performance was poor anyway. Three goals from OG's last month (two own goals and one from Olivier Giroud) and Giroud's one won Arsenal's Goal of the Month for August 2015. No shit, right?
There's nothing too much to talk about in this game as a fan (and not a former pro or an analyst, mind you). Our performance were more than "much better", and should've been as good since the beginning of the season. However, Stoke were extremely poor on both ends and we only scored 2 goals from massive amount of chances we created, which only solidifies the fact that we absolutely should've signed a world class, or a potentially better striker than Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck, who's out injured for months by the way. Wenger's not kidding anyone with his response to the media about the transfer market as I'm very sure he knew that the team needs a central forward to challenge for more than the baby cups.
Now, from what I saw in the game, I remember that we kept going to the right in the first half but not doing jack. When we go to the left where Mesut Ozil was for a while, he was more opened and he created like 4 chances. Our crosses were, as usual, pretty low rate in terms of accuracy. We had plenty of free-frag chances but were missed by hitting the post, rocketing the open rebound and poorly aimed open headers. Walcott's goal was awesome as it involved three different elements -- Francis Coquelin's spot-on sliding tackle which took the ball away from a Stoke player in their half and the ball rolls straight to Ozil who made the impressive long pass to Walcott who made the brilliant run. His first touch, pace, composure and finish paid off as he slides the ball through between the charging goalkeeper's legs. And then Walcott started missing all the great chances again.
The most notable sitter was perhaps Giroud's miss where the ball was badly handled by Stoke in their box and somehow rolled perfectly to Giroud's feet right in front of goal at the left post but he shot it wide to the far post even though the goalkeeper already went the wrong way. Thankfully, he headed in one later from the assist by captain of the day, Santi Cazorla's free kick, but it was a wide open, easy, easy header too. Stoke were horrible defensively. They did try to spirit an attack in the first 10 minutes or so in the second half but our defenders did well (Gabriel continues to impress) and we dictated the game again for the remaining time (and kept missing chances). Besides the low conversion rate of goals from chances created is Alexis Sanchez's goal drought at the moment. He hasn't scored since he came back from his holidays. It's worrying but let's hope he'd be back firing by next weekend.
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