Rating Arsenal's players in their win against Stoke City
- Arsenal overcame a sluggish start to secure a 3-0 victory over the Potters.
Arsenal hosted Stoke City at the Emirates ahead of their game against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League this week. Petr Cech missed the game due to a groin injury while Granit Xhaka and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were the other notable absentees from the starting line-up as they dropped down to the bench. Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere, who returned early from their international duties, were fit to start against the Potters.
In the first-half, Stoke were the better team, pressing high and tackling aggressively. Arsenal lost possession cheaply far too often and barely had any chances to attack in the opening twenty minutes.
However, they became more structured as the game progressed. The deadlock was broken by Aubameyang when he slotted home a penalty. He scored his second ten minutes later before Alexandre Lacazette sealed the game with another penalty.
David Ospina: 7
Standing between the posts after Petr Cech was ruled out due to an injury, the Colombian was excellent in his positioning. He made a few saves and looked comfortable during the match. It was a flawless performance from Ospina.
Hector Bellerin: 6
The right-back was poor going forward and often released the ball far too late. His passes were inaccurate at times and he left too much space behind him for his opponents to counter-attack.
Calum Chambers: 6
There were two moments when Chambers could have opened the scoring for Arsenal through a set piece, but he failed to do so. He looked uncertain in the opening stages of the match but as the game progressed, he slowly became more involved. His communication with the rest of the defenders has improved, but Chambers still needs to work on the timing and sharpness of his tackles.
Shkodran Mustafi: 5.5
The centre-back repeatedly misplaced his passes in the first half. Whenever he had the ball, he tried to pass it forward, but more than half the time, it fell to the opposing team. Mustafi was good in the air and made a few crucial blocks. However, his poor passing simply cannot be forgiven. The German defender looked far from sharp despite training with the team during the international break.
Nacho Monreal: 6.5
The Spaniard had a busy afternoon against Stoke. He did not look sharp and misplaced a few passes like Mustafi. After the break, Monreal had the freedom to move forward as Stoke sat back to defend. He was rarely caught out of position but his poor crosses meant Stoke were never under any real pressure.
Mohamed Elneny: 6.5
He tried to tidy things up between the midfield and the defence and did so quite successfully. Too often, the Gunners left space between the midfield and the defence, which allowed the Potters to get possession quickly. Elneny had to throw himself into challenges and protect the back four. In the second half, Elneny moved forward to help his team and even came close to scoring once.
Jack Wilshere: 7
Wilshere was named the captain on the night as Koscielny sat on the bench. The Englishman had a few brilliant moments in the first half, setting up chances for Ramsey and other team-mates. However, his passes lacked bite and accuracy and he gave up possession far too many times for his liking. After the break, the Englishman stepped up his game and kept the ball closer to himself.
Aaron Ramsey: 6.5
Ramsey and Wilshere did not communicate well in the early stages. The duo kept misplacing passes, decreasing their overall influence on the game. In the second half, Ramsey became more disciplined and created opportunities for Ozil and Wilshere to advance.
Mesut Ozil: 7
The German had a quiet first half. On one particular occasion, he lost possession in a dangerous position in his own half which nearly led to a Stoke City opener. Ozil lacked the creative spark he usually has and had difficulty breaking the Stoke defensive line.
Putting the first half behind him, Ozil's dominance in the midfield grew as the game progressed. His passes were gradually directed forward instead of sideways and he was constantly on the lookout for the runs of his team-mates. He also won Arsenal's first penalty which Aubameyang duly converted.
Danny Welbeck: 5
Welbeck's touches were simply too heavy, giving him little time to react or shoot on the night. As a result of his poor performance, Wenger chose to substitute him in the 60th minute, bringing on Alexandre Lacazette in his place.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 8
Aubameyang was forced to drop deep into the midfield in order to get the ball more often. He was eager to drive the ball into the box and forward, but his team-mates did not move the ball quickly enough, leaving him a frustrated figure initially. However, he stepped up in the second half and converted a penalty to give Arsenal the lead before scoring the side's second as well.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7.5
Lacazette came on for Welbeck and looked sharp, retaining the ball to the best of his ability. He drew a foul in his opponent's penalty box and scored the resulting spot-kick. It was a just reward for an amazing showing against Stoke.
Granit Xhaka: 6
Coming into the game as a substitute, Xhaka gave the team more fluidity. He was involved in a heated argument with a Stoke City player as things became sour after Arsenal scored their third goal.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 6
The Armenian lost the ball a bit too easily after coming on, but he attempted to contribute to the game. His performance was overshadowed by Lacazette who stole the limelight upon replacing Welbeck.Published 02 Apr 2018, 09:50 IST