Stoke Review: Three Points & Stoke Are Going Down – A Good Afternoon

Arsenal 3 – 0 Stoke City

The typically disjointed post-international break performance yielded three points while lulling the watching CSKA Moscow scouts into a false sense of security. Job done in front of a half-empty stadium.

Wenger added the usual misinformation over the time of year and international break, before hitting the nail on the head over the sparse crowd.

“It’s explainable by the fact that it’s Easter. It’s a family happening where people go away and it’s a fact that we don’t think about a lot in the Premier League. There’s also the fact that we had a break. In the Premier League, in the last two or three weeks, we’ve faced that problem. It’s just down to the fact that we’re not fighting for the championship. People know that will not change now.”

The only thing he didn’t mention was the poverty of the football on offer. We’re not tempting people back to the stadium. An astute owner will wonder how low crowds will tumble next season. Enos, apparently, is astute; let’s see.

The match itself was almost as much of a non-event as the Joshua vs Parker fight the night before. At least somebody won a prize with that; we got three points and moved closer to Chelsea in the race for desperation to find hope in your season.

The crowd will, as Wenger said, be back later this week, and the club must be praying for the Europa League run to continue because you wonder how much lower the attendances can drop in the season. That said, even elimination in the quarter-final won’t stop the majority of our remaining games being Sunday lunch-time kick-offs; the die is cast.

I’m desperately wracking my brains for positives from the match, which for a 3 – 0 win is a bizarre thing to have to do.

There’s Good and Bad Everywhere, Don’t You Think?

The first positive was Aubameyang’s “generosity”. He gave up his first Arsenal hat-trick so Alexandre Lacazette could have a goal for his confidence. Good team spirit, and all that jazz.

Lacazette’s introduction came after Welbeck suffered a back injury, knackering Thursday night’s plan up. Will that change Wenger’s thinking over the XI? He hinted it might. Lacazette “lacked the competitive edge” and it isn’t going to return in one forty-minute cameo. Can he lead the line? Do we have another choice?

Two penalties were rightly awarded to us, to the chagrin of Stoke City who bemoaned that this used to be a contact sport. It’s unusual to see an official unafraid to make those decisions, especially after the Mane farce at Selhurst Park. Then again, that was Neil Swarbrick and the VAR farces become a lot more understandable.

What made the difference? Was it the Shaqiri corner which rattled the woodwork; that late into the second half, it wasn’t anything the manager said during the interval.

Almost immediately, the ‘uh-oh’ cogs were turning. Aubameyang drew the first of a few good saves from Butland before the contentious Özil penalty award. It was right in my book, given the low bar set by other officials for contact in the sport.

Aubameyang struck it well, making it hard to save even if Butland were Stretch Armstrong.

The Gabon striker’s second was finished with aplomb. He kept it low while retaining the power in his shot from a position when all too often you see those chances balloon over the bar.

There’s no doubt he’s a confident player but it’s disconcerting to hear Wenger talk about playing him on the left. Converting a prolific goalscorer to a left-winger isn’t much of a plan, to be honest; 4-4-2 is not an option.

You Have Two Emotions: Silence and Rage

Look, it was three points and contrary to Paul Lambert’s optimism, Stoke are not alright with points going to be hard to come by between now and the end of the season. Joy to the world, and all that; the Orcs are going down with West Brom. Now, if only Southampton can continue their woeful form although I won’t shed a tear if Palace go with them.

There’s not much else to say about yesterday. It was the Godfather III of football matches. You knew it was coming, and now that it’s over, there’s nothing to write home about.

’til Tomorrow.

16 thoughts on “Stoke Review: Three Points & Stoke Are Going Down – A Good Afternoon

  1. The less said about the Arsenal performance the better. Let’s happily accept the generosity of the footballing gods, as well as that of Mr. C Pawson (South Yorkshire), and move on to some more Thursday Night Football.

  2. What is the point of having two top, very expensive strikers when we can’t service them?

    The team in balance is clear to any that will see.

  3. Exactly. The question to be answered is who is making the choices to recruit at Arsenal. It’s clear Aubameyang isn’t a Wenger signing.

  4. Another nail in the ‘orcs’coffin.coudn’t happen to a nicer bunch of c**ts.isnt karma a wonderful thing.three clubs who attempted nothing in their matches against us other than attempted gbh particularly when we use to field nothing but kids.boys against men & all that shit.i’m talking Bolton,Blackburn & the orcs.going down & hopefully donkeys years before they ever darken the premiership again.

  5. Good 3 points as I started watching right when our boys started to show up and the goals and play were flowing.

    Aubameyang and Lacazette can play together because both have played in systems with 2 strikers but also mobile fronts. Its clear they do have similar qualities but also are very different with Lacazette operating in tight spaces and Aubameyang thr high flying attacker. It doesn’t have to be a 442, I mean look at Bayern, Dortmund, Juve, Athletico, Madrid, Barca and others who play with 2 strikers.

    Rumor has it Elneny had a good performance, sure he keeps things ticking and does his job ala Nacho, but we honestly don’t need a dynamic DM who plays incisive passes, we need an efficient and effective player there who covers space.

  6. Have to say, if Southampton do go down I hope Arsenal are the first to call about either Romeu or Lemina.

  7. Kind if quiet around these parts.

    For what its worth, I think there is a legimate shot at us getting 5th and winning the Europa given how shit Chelsea have been and the fact that we can really have a go in thr Europa.

  8. chavs are not going to ship goals like they did last night with Courtois in goal.
    spuds were due to win some year against the chavs.

    For the record, the super coach potts’s record is now 2-19 versus the top six on the road. Please, someone get this guy on the phone to replace our coach..
    Looking forward to the Europa match as it is the last chance for a second piece of silverware.

  9. three teams who we usually perform badly against away from home look like going down: WBA, Southampton and Stoke. Happy days (maybe)

  10. Have to say, the exchange between Ozil and Bellerin is quite funny because Ozil told him and from that point on Bellerin passed it quicker.

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