Yet another clean sheet for Arsenal away to Stoke City kept up our very impressive defensive record in the Premier League this season and extended the record breaking figures of our new number one. Quite rightly a lot of the credit for this is going to Petr Cech, not just for his shot stopping ability but for his calmness and presence and the confidence that gives to the Arsenal defence.
It is quite amazing how some teams and grounds are more difficult no matter where the two teams stand in the table. I know records are there to be broken but in my head I know for a fact that Stoke are Arsenal’s bogey team when we meet at the Britannia Stadium. The stats bear this out with the results showing that we have only won once on our last eight visits there, including a 3-2 defeat last season.
This is a very strange game to work out the ratings for each player, as although we won the game, there was not much for Arsenal fans to rave about.
But here goes….
As was made clear in the previous article, Arsenal beat Newcastle despite playing badly and managing to win ‘ugly’ for a change. Arsene Wenger admitted that he had to feel sorry for Steve McLaren’s team but he was more than happy with the Gunners mental strength to take the points.
Perhaps it was the fact that the Arsenal and France international defender Laurent Koscielny had been rested by the manager for the last Premier League outing against Bournemouth that helped him to react quicker and beat the Newcastle defenders to the punch today and score the only goal of the game.