Positives taken from Arsenal’s victory over Stoke City
The Emirates Stadium hosted its 100th match since its inauguration in August 2006 and the Gunners marked the milestone with an impressive victory over the impressive Stoke City. It was also a good to know that the 100th game at the Emirates coincided with Arsene Wenger’s 62nd birthday.
Tony Pulis has taken Stoke from strength to strength and its impressive to know that he hasn’t been relegated n his 18 years as a football manager. Since gaining promotion in 2008, he has made Stoke City a decent mid-table Premier League outfit with a dreaded home ground in Stoke-on-Trent called the Britannia.
Stoke is renowned for its direct style of play as well as tall players that utilize set pieces to great effect. The club also has a not-so-secret weapon called Rory Delap. His long throws have been a very big problem for Stoke’s opponents and most teams haven’t been able to quell the threat he poses.
Arsenal defeated Stoke thanks to a goal from new signing Gervinho as well as a brace from the club’s talisman Robin van Persie and I’ll like to give my take on the positives drawn from the match.
Arsenal can always count on Robin van Persie
Arsenal needed a new leader after the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and Arsene Wenger looked no further than the Flying Dutchman he bought from Feyernoord in 2004. The early part of his Arsenal career was blighted by injuries but 2011 will be a year van Persie will never forget.
For those who are fans of ‘numbers’, van Persie’s stats are simply remarkable. He has notched up 25 goals in his last 26 Premier League games and 30 goals in 36 games in this calendar year. He also has the record for the fastest ever goal recorded at the Emirates and he scored Arsenal’s 200th goal in the 100th game at the Emirates.
Aaron Ramsey has finally come of age
Aaron Ramsey did well in the tail end of 2009 and the early part of 2010 to be selected ahead of Denilson and Abou Diaby to challenge for his first team place. But his horrific injury coupled with Jack Wilshere’s emergence made him struggle for a place in the first team after his return from injury but the tides have turned as Ramsey’s has finally come of age in Wilshere’s absence.
For what it’s worth, Ramsey will give Arsene Wenger something to think about when Wilshere is fully fit.
Gervinho has come into the party
Gervinho has been a massive hit at the Emirates since his move from LOSC Lille Metropole and he produced a performance that was worthy of the outlay play for him. He scored the match’s opener and handed two assists to the red-hot Robin van Persie.
Szczesny’s confidence in adversity
At the young age of 21, Wojciech Szczesny has matured to a very decent goalie and he showed his level-headedness when he was faced with a threatening decision against Stoke’s Jon Walters. Szczesny did well to get the ball under control before dribbling the striker.
A renowned panicky goalie like Christian Abbiati wouldn’t have fared well in such a moment.
Arsenal’s recent run of form
The Gunners are back with a bang with six wins in their last seven games. Following the embarrassing defeat against Blackburn in Ewood Park, the Gunners have recorded wins against Shrewsbury Town, Bolton, Olympiakos, Sunderland, Olympique Marseille and Stoke City.
Arsenal has a Carling Cup encounter against Bolton but their mettle will be put to the test when they play Chelsea next week.
Laurent Koscielny’s improved play
Laurent Koscielny arrived in Arsenal last season from FC Lorient and he has been pretty impressive so far this season. With Thomas Vermaelen still out injured, a lot of questions have been raised on who his partner might be when the Belgian returns to full fitness.
Koscielny has been a beast at the back for the Gunners and he has shown some dominance in the aerial department even if he’s not the tallest of defenders. Wenger has the final say though.
Johan Djourou’s familiarity with his new role
With Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson out injured, Arsene Wenger had to dig deep to search for a player that would deputize for them till they return to full fitness and he turned his attention to the Swiss brick wall that was very impressive last season, Johan Djourou.
Djourou didn’t really fare too well when Arsenal played Blackburn but he delivered a peach of a cross when Arsenal played Olympique Marseille in a match that ended on a high thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s strike at the death.
Mikel Arteta’s consistency
Since his deadline day move from Everton, Mikel Arteta has played in every Arsenal game except the Carling Cup encounter against Shrewsbury Town and he has maintained a high level of consistency.
Arteta has been heavily involved in Arsenal’s buildup play and he has supplied a large number of quality crosses through set pieces. Arteta will also give Wenger something to think about when Jack Wilshere returns to full fitness.
There are many more positives you would have liked me to add but it’s fair to say that I’ve ran out of options.
Feel free to leave a comment or two.
The Arsenal of old is back.