Arsenal relatively eased to victory against a reformed Stoke side that sets us up nicely for our challenging upcoming away fixtures against Everton, and then Manchester City. Wenger a variety of changes that once again demonstrate the strength in depth that the squad possesses.
Stoke have become a much more gentle side in the last couple of years, and are slowly developing into a footballing side – a far cry from the Delap and Fuller days in their early Premier League days. Recent signings such as Bojan, Shaqiri and Joe Allen have demonstrated this progression into a different side. Conversely Arsenal seemed to have toughened up with our combative midfield duo of Xhaka and Coquelin. At home Stoke have never caused us problems and this trend continued on Saturday.
In truth Stoke put us under some pressure in the first half, that we got away with until their contentious penalty. For me not a pen. Xhaka didn’t go in with the intention to elbow Allen, and it was a natural movement. We responded well, and it was vital to get that goal before half time. A great cross from the returning Bellerin too, which softens the blow of losing Mustafi.
The second half was far smoother and Ozil’s goal was a sublime piece of football, the Ox’s cross was perfect and it’s good to see Ozil score in consecutive league games. Iwobi took his chance well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ox rested against Everton in midweek to make way for Iwobi who’s got two goals in his last two.
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi are creating healthy competition for each other on the left hand side, but I would argue Chamberlain has the edge currently, although I expect rotation during the busy Christmas period.