Two games; two points; two 0-0 draws. We can point to the chances created, control of the game and defensive stability if we are looking for positives. But obviously we can’t push for the title if we aren’t scoring. Wenger thinks we will score soon, he believes the new boys need time to gel. Given the performances of Giroud and Cazorla today, it looks like they have already settled in very well. It’s just a question of scoring that first goal, so that our new attackers don’t suffer from the psychological issues that led to Torres failing to score for 903 minutes.
Mannone 6.5 Commanded the box pretty well despite not being expected to play until a few days before the game. He dropped one catch but swiftly fell on the ball to prevent Stoke from grabbing a goal. He marshalled the box well from their long throws and his kicking was generally decent apart from one poor clearance.
Jenkinson 6.5 Built on a strong performance last week with another decent display. He was defensively sound and pushed forward with good intent and his crossing was typically dangerous.
Vermaelen 7 A good game by the captain, who kept Stoke’s powerful forwards at bay in the few attacks they made.
Mertesacker 7 He partnered the Belgian very well with towering headers and composed play. He helped reduce the panic the often ensues in our defence against Stoke. Koscielny may have to fight to get his place back.
Gibbs 7 Made a couple of great tackles and bombed forward down the left. However he made a clumsy challenge on Pennant which could’ve been a penalty (would’ve been pretty soft though, but we’ve seen them given!).
Arteta 7.5 No change from all his Arsenal performances – he was calm on the ball, played the right passes at the right times and his positioning off the ball was fantastic.
Diaby 6 He can get the ball from one box to another very quickly but then he slows down our play far too much. It’s a shame because he has all the attributes, apart from decision-making.
Cazorla 7.5 Instrumental in everything we did, especially in the first half. His close control was excellent, even in the face of Stoke’s physically imposing players. His shooting was a generally poor; a few from free kicks and a few from distance.
Podolski 7 Very good in the first half, but he faded away until his substitution. He is better on the wing than up front. He floated around the space between Stoke’s midfield and defence and made some strong runs and incisive passes.
Giroud 7.5 MOTM His movement was great, his hold up play fantastic, his first touch exquisite and his passing was very good too. It was a shame he fluffed his lines in front of goal. There was the volley from the corner, which he should have scored because he had plenty of time and it was on his left foot. Then there was that break in the last minute, when Giroud was unlucky not to score with his long range effort, but really should’ve laid it off to Ramsey. Still proved he is a top player, and should definitely start against Liverpool.
Gervinho 4.5 Didn’t get in the game much after a good performance last week. When he did get the ball, he lost it on several occasions and failed to get past the defender every time he got the ball.
Ramsey n/a Got booed by the Stoke fans which was disgusting, but didn’t have much time to affect the game.
Oxlade-Chamberlain 7 Very lively and broke down the left several occasions in his short stint on the pitch. Dangerous.
Walcott 6 Did little as usual – needs to show he’s worth the reported £70k/week we are offering him, or we should cash in.