Stoke City vs Arsenal FC; Three Wins on the Trot

The victory against Stoke brings us to three definitive wins in a row. It is reasonable to claim that we disposed of the opposition in all three matches. This occurred, mind you, amid the notorious November form and the news that Santi Cazorla would be undergoing surgery. Against the odds, our squad is coming together in a mixture of lineups and gaining confidence throughout!

It would be difficult to describe the wins against West Ham and FC Basel as anything less than dominant. A hat-trick in each for Alexis Sanchez and Lucas Perez, respectively, allowed the squad to flex their muscles and really focus on the formation. It is amazing how well the team has handled almost constant rotation for form and fitness. It makes us wonder, why didn’t Arsene Wenger try to carry what he feels is a “large squad” sooner?

Stoke City came on strong this weekend, but I was only watching the arsenal by the second half. By this, I mean that we were playing our football around their team without having to alter our tactics to keep them out. One could argue that we’ve been weak in keeping clean sheets, but I stand true to the opinion that the Allen penalty was soft at best. It was great to see Bellerin back, although it was a result of unfortunate circumstances. In Wenger’s post-match interview, he said that it Mustafi has a significant hamstring pull and that we will be seeing the likes of Gabriel and Holding in weeks to come.

The true highlight of the match for me was seeing Ozil talking and leading by example. He has realized his ability to drive the team forward and his responsibility to inspire with his talent. The quality of Ozil’s goal may go unnoticed because it was performed without power. The anticipation on the run left him free, his awareness allowed him to check the keeper, and his ability to dip his head and put it out of reach made the finish! The praise may be coming off as too strong, but this goal was the icing on the cake after coming off an excellent week.

The Arsenal players look to be enjoying themselves, even with the uncertainty over contacts for Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. It’s a belief that we haven’t seen in years, which appears to be a result of having quality in depth. Theo Walcott confirmed this in his interview from the weekend, saying that the team is different and stronger than seasons past. We need to continue to build on this form in both, the Champion’s League and the Premier League!

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