After the win at Fulham, Mourinho declared that there was no team above the Blues, how funny that their lead at the summit of the league table didn’t last up to 24 hours. They got there at 7:30pm and were booted out by Arsenal at 3:30pm after the convincing victory over visiting Stoke City. Fans had their hearts momentarily in their mouth when news frittered in that Walcott had pulled out of the starting lineup owing to a weird injury and in came youngster Serge Gnabry. The loss of Walcott didn’t deter the Gunners who were keen to seize the opportunity of Liverpool’s loss to storm to the top of the table. The rout started when Mesut Ozil’s freekick was parried by Begovic into the path of Ramsey to gift the Welshman his 7th goal of the season but Stoke won’t give in without a fight. They got back on level terms when Cameron diverted a rebound past Szczesny but German center back Per Mertesacker made sure Arsenal went into the break ahead when he headed in Mesut Ozil’s corner kick. Bacary Sagna sealed the victory when he also nodded in the German’s nice delivery, this time, from a free-kick. The only blips from today’s game is the lack of clean sheet and the fact that Giroud couldn’t get his 5th goal in 5 consecutive Premier League games.
Here are my findings from the game :
Gnabry gets his first start of the season
In the absence of Chamberlain, Cazorla and Podolski, I knew the youngsters would have opportunities. Gnabry got one today in the most bizarre circumstances after Walcott pulled out of the match owing to a muscle strain. The young German winger didn’t disappoint. He contributed his own fair share offensively and defensively. If he isn’t good enough to start in the EPL and Champions League but he can surely be of help in the Capital One Cup and off the bench. He needs to cut down on his tricks and flicks. At the highest level, a winger needs to be incisive and direct. He didn’t really do well enough with crosses but had a good enough game overall.
Joachim Loew was present to watch the game
The game had an August visitor and he was none other than German coach Joachim Lowe. I wonder what he came to do. Could it be to watch the match or to see some players in action? Doubt if it would be the former since it wasn’t a top of the table clash and if it’s the latter, I wonder the players he came to see. Certainly, it won’t be Ozil and Mertesacker. He knows them well enough already as they are regulars for the German Machines already. It could be the youngster Gnabry. With the Germans almost through to the World Cup, he has the bulk of his first team but would be looking for decent youngsters to make the squad. Hope Gnabry made good enough impression?
Ramsey can’t stop scoring
The Welshman can’t just stop scoring. He is arguably the most in-form midfielder in the EPL at the moment. With 7 goals in 8 matches this season, Ramsey is certainly on fire. He took his goal well and enroute doing so, he showed good positioning, awareness and swift response. Hope he continues with the rich vein of form.
Ozil’s makes hat-trick of assists
The former Real Madrid midfielder came to Arsenal on the back of an intimidating assist record and he has started showing it. In 2 games, he has had 4 assists already and could have been more had Walcott been more clinical against Sunderland last weekend. His assist last week was from open play but the assists today was from set pieces. This clearly shows there are many sides to Arsenal’s marquee signing.
Arsenal score from set pieces
It isn’t strange to see Arsenal score from set pieces but when all of Arsenal’s 3 goals came from it, then, it becomes an interesting discourse. Seem Arsenal are now learning to have a plan B in case of there been a stumbling block to their fluid passing game. Should we meet a team that decide to park the bus, we can always resort to scoring from dead ball situations. In Ozil, we have someone that can give good deliveries and in Sagna, Mertesacker, we have players that can nod them in.
Arsenal’s injury worries seem to be abating. First, it was Monreal, then, Vermaelen, now it is Arteta. With Arteta’s return, immense competition returns to the defensive midfield area. Now, Flamini, Arteta and Ramsey will have to battle for the 2 defensive midfield slots. The competition is surely good for the team. It will allow players have good rest and keep them on their toes. Looking forward to the return of Cazorla, Chamberlain and Podolski, not forgetting Diaby if he ever recovers.