Arsenal vs. Stoke review late Podolski wins it and Wilshere nearly chins Owen

Arsenal have more midfielders than they know what to do with, but Mikel Arteta is crucial to Arsene Wenger’s plans so he came straight back into the side today. Wenger decided to play Wilshere as the central attacking midfielder, so Cazorla started on the bench and Diaby started alongside Arteta in the middle. Oxlade-Chamberlain also started on the left instead of Podolski, which was a bit of a surprise. Monreal was thrown straight into the fray.

There were no sign of any nerves from the Gunners, and it was clear from the start that Stoke would be doing a lot of defending. After 15 minutes and lots of nice play, however, we had still not scored and were given a reminder by Stoke that we could not take the game for granted. Crouch was given too much room to turn and shoot, which led to a corner. I don’t think it will surprise anyone to hear that I am not convinced by our defending at corners.

The game started to meander a bit as the half wore on, and it seemed as if we needed something or someone to inject a bit of urgency. The crowd was subdued and the lack of clear cut chances was not helping. The ox nearly provided it from a corner after 30 minutes but managed to direct his shot straight at Begovic. It was all Arsenal, but chances came and went and it was level at halftime. We did find out that Monreal has a really hard head though.

Stoke were obviously encouraged by the leniency of the officials, because they started the second half determined to break up play as much as possible and it was really frustrating us. With 25 minutes left Wenger decided to bring on Podolski and Cazorla, for Chamberlain and Diaby.

The lanky Frenchman and the Ox had played well I thought, but Wenger was proved right because it was a Podolski free kick that finally broke the deadlock. The linesman tried to ruin it but thankfully the referee overruled him. Cazorla nearly doubled the lead shortly after and the Spaniard looked sharper than he has for a while.

Old `shatter your legs` Shawcross got away with a shocking studs up challenge on Koscielny, it was dangerous and should have been a red card, but the referee must have got lucky last night because he was in no mood to punish anything Stoke did today. It just proves what Tony Pulis wants from his players when you see Michael Owen punching Mikel Arteta in the back. Owen has always been a Gent, but it did give us the great picture of Wilshere squaring up to the diminutive striker. That is a fight I would pay good money to see.

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214 thoughts on “Arsenal vs. Stoke review late Podolski wins it and Wilshere nearly chins Owen

  1. mark

    Great win against Stoke, from a team that tries its best to play entertaining football against a ‘team’ that really don’t deserve to be called top flight football team.

    Good performance, good tactics, good substitutions, and great spirit.

    What I hope we are learning, is that certain players are working well in certain games, and today showed that very well. The new guy did well too, a couple of weeks and he should be up to speed.

    Stoke’s bullying tactics didn’t work today, and while Shawcross should have been red carded, it was a shame to see Michael Owen throw a punch or two at Arteta (another red card).

    The goal was entirely legal, and it really is poor for Pulis to whinge about our players ‘surrounding the ref’, as if his players are some kind of moral compass for us all to follow.

    I can’t stand the guy, and his team philosophy might be good enough to keep them in the league, but it ain’t pretty.

    Still, hopefully a turning point for the last third of the season and a top 4 place. If we play with that level of aggression and skill the results will follow. Fingers crossed.

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  2. Lol123

    I would love to see Podolski in the as the center striker that would also make place for Cazorla on the left wing because Right now i Think arteta, Diaby and wilshere is the best combination in the center midfield. But Right now giroud is on fire and he deserves the spot. And i really have to say i like the idea of a smaller and technical giftet player as arteta on the defensive midfield because he is much more save in our play when the defence is pressing High up field. But we need physical presence in the midfield like Diaby gives us, but he is just too clumsy to play in front of the defence therefor i prefer him a bit further up field. And it really gives us an extra dimension to our play with Diaby.

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  3. Chris

    Stoke are to football what Quasimodo is to Miss World. How
    any one can watch this team of kickers, I dont know. Hopefully they will eventually go back down. They are completely boring.

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  4. Aw

    @admin ever consider a poll or voting system to go with some articles.

    I thought the ox looked dangerous needs to add more goals to game. Hate Owen stoke showed there real side today. Offered nothing postive towards the game

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  5. Pat

    Anyone see that sissoko fella for newcastle. big, strong, fast(out ran cashley cole) good passer, great technique and can score. 1.8 million. did wenger miss out, i dont know but did he look good today against chelsea.

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  6. Clive Belcher

    Well in getting a new left back gave Sagna a kick up the jacksie he played like his old self lets hope he continues that form as for Diaby he cant defend, Ramsey or Coquelen are far better he is,he has not improved at all in the games he has played every body keeps saying we need a defensive mid fielder we need a strong quick central defender as for the last 10mins we were so arrogant that we nearly again gave it away.WE need to start allways with our strongest team, then bring on players that can keep the level of the game still in our favour NEVER START WITH YOUR WEAKESST CB

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  7. Henryesk

    @goonercrouchy did you really say RVP is the only player from United that would improve Arsenal? So what about Vidic? Rooney? Kagawa? Hernandez? Smalling? Jones? Even Evans is more solid than Mert.. Come on sometimes you gotta be real there’s a reason they’re top of the table and don’t say it’s RVP because they only lost on goal difference last year and that was without him.

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  8. robbie

    First of all I’m happy we won! Against rugby team stoke, I’m glad wenger bought monreal! I have one question however to wenger: don’t you think we still need a striker A STRIKER and a DM? And another question: why didn’t you buy jovetic for 21.5million? Chelsea will nab him and capoue the beast well probably real madrid or spuds! MONREAL your a good player and way better than santos! Shame you are cup tied bellerin over sagna and when he gets good don’t go back to barca!!

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  9. jack got gooned

    man i missed the match!!!
    i want to see jack squaring up against owen :( :(

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  10. Ochy 'SQ' D' Canon

    Trust me, Monreal is a Real Gem..!! A versatile centreback, a defensive midfielder and a right footed striker. Can’t wait for 3rd March to lynch 5pur2..!!

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  11. anthony

    I just want to mention that Oxlade starting at central left attacking midfield is a good sign as this is the position he showed promised in the beginning of his arsenal career. If plays regularly will get better and score lots of goals.

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  12. londongunner

    lets be honest about the peformace there were many postives we were cool calm and collected but maybe to much so!

    we only scored because of a lucky deflection! with arteta on we become a team great with possesion but lacking creativity killer penetrative passes and flair an counter attacking football! problem means that against lesser sides like stoke who have thugish defenders and are never gonna attack we have a stalemate situation! fans say we deserved to win but i actually think we were lucky to score we never broke down their defence! for the entire match except for oxlade chamberlans shot, people love arteta he is a ledgend! but whenever he plays we have these stalemate situtions, our team becomes less agressive which is great for possesion but its not always how much possesion you have but what you do with it

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