After the recent struggles to score at home and with Arsenal´s massive pre-season optimism having evaporated after a slow and goal shy start to the season, we needed a fast start at home to Stoke today. And we certainly got it and should have been in front inside three minutes, but Alexis Sanchez saw his header tipped on to the post and Walcott made a real hash of the follow up.
Half an hour later it was looking like Wenger´s decision to replace Giroud with Walcott was looking a bad one as the speedy Englishman had missed another great chance and was not causing the Stoke defence many problems, although he had made a few good runs down the channels.
Alexis, Cazorla, Ozil and Ramsey were playing well and creating some chances, especially the Chilean who looked on fire, but as the half wore on the pressure to score was building. So thankfully Theo redeemed himself with a great run, deft control and a nice finish as he latched on to a brilliant long ball from Ozil. Coquelin deserves credit as well as it was his tackle on a Stoke forward high up the pitch that caught the visitors up the pitch and gave us the space.
Arsenal were dominant almost throughout the game, although Stoke did make more chances in the second half, but with just over five minutes to go we were still just one goal ahead. Giroud had replaced Walcott and had then missed a great chance with his first touch and the questions about our scoring power were looming large, but Cazorla then provided a great ball and the French striker showed his aerial ability to head a second and seal the win.
It was not vintage Arsenal but it was a lot better and with both centre forwards scoring and Alexis looking super sharp again, things are looking up.