Going to Stoke in the Premier League is never an easy task for anyone but even less so when you are Arsenal FC. The first thing fans ask for, before points, it to return home unscathed. Having lost three of our five trips up there since 2008 (in all comps) a draw isn’t the end of the world, slightly harder to take on the back of a draw last week, but no matter when we played this game, a draw is always a decent result given that only Manchester United and Chelsea have taken more points at Stoke than Arsenal.
Of course, there were chances, Opta tell us that we had 17 shots to their 6, 67% possession to their 33%, 12 corners to their zero. But we have new boys who are clearly needing a bit of time to hit their stride in a new league. It is far from cause for concern.
At the back we looked solid, despite being without Sagna, Koscielny, or Szczesny. Every pundit post match praised how Arsenal defended and nullified the threat Stoke posed from set-pieces, the most dangerous team in the league when it comes to scoring that way. It’s two clean sheets, two matches unbeaten, two matches without scoring. It’s all about your perspective. But it is only two matches.
Stoke only put in three really bad tackles, quit an achievement for them as they seemed puzzled as to how to handle Cazorla who ran the midfield like he’d been in there his whole life. At times Diaby looked like a baby giraffe but the midfield was not really our problem either.
Podolski and Giroud looked strong and they worked hard, as did the whole team. The finishing will come.
So it’s two matches and two draws. Two points and Liverpool away up next which should be tasty and is no easy proposition regardless of how they are at the minute. Lots to work with, lots to work on. It could be better, but it could, of course, be worse.
This is just a quick update, a more detailed blog on today’s match tomorrow.------------
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