Sanchez magic gives Arsenal three points against Stoke
Two goals and an assist from Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the tree points today, as they cruised through a very weak Stoke City side at the Emirates Stadium.
After a four match unbeaten run in the Premier League, Arsenal lost 2-0 to Southampton. However, going through to the next round in the FA Cup after beating Hull City last week, had given the Gunners their confidence back ahead of today’s game.
With Mezut Özil back from injury and Giroud back from suspension, the Gunners attacking force had never been stronger. Stoke City on the other hand, made seven changes from their 3-1 FA Cup victory over Wrexham last week.
However, despite their changes, Stoke would need to be on top of their game against Arsenal, as previous history has not been in their favour against the North Londoners. Stoke have lost on each of their last 12 games away at Arsenal, six of which have been in the Premier League.
Not only that, but Arsenal have lost just one of their last 27 Premier League home games, and manager Mark Hughes has been beaten in all seven of his matches as an opposition manager at the Emirates.
The last time the two clubs met was at the Britannia Stadium was in December, when Stoke managed to win 3-2 , and Gunners manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side had been “too soft” coping with the Potters.
The Potters have been good away this season against the bigger clubs, as five of their seven wins have come against clubs in the top half, including Manchester City and Tottenham.
One of their best players has been Peter Crouch, who funny enough has scored eight Premier League goals against Arsenal, his joint-highest tally against a particular opponent. In addition, it was his 19 seconds goal, which gave Stoke their lead in their win against Arsenal.
This is no coincidence considering how the Potters have been quick to score goals this season, scoring seven of their 22 league goals inside the first 15 minutes.
However, Arsenal had learned from their mistakes and did they instead take an early lead in the first five minutes, when Sanchez with a cross from the left found an unmarked Laurent Koscielny, whose header found the bottom right corner.
Arsenal went on, and did they have another chance to take a further lead; when Olivier Giroud in the 20th minute saw his left footed shot from outside the box saved in the bottom left corner by Begovic in the Stoke goal.
The Potters had nothing to offer in the attack, and was it only Bojan who had a few runs at the Arsenal defence. Arsenal on the other hand were very dangerous with the ball, and especially Sanchez was unstoppable.
In the 32nd minute, Sanchez played tika-taka with Tomas Rosicky and received a great pass on the left, and with a great turn to the right, Sancez smashed the ball in the bottom left corner, leaving Begovic helpless in the goal.
Stoke’s only real shot on target came in the last minutes of the first half, when big Peter Croach ran from the half way line towards goal, but was forced to make a shot far outside the box which Ospinna saved easily.
Only having one shot on target, Mark Hughes made two substitutions at half time. However, this did not help much, as Arsenal took a further lead three minutes into the second half, when Sanchez again found the net from a free kick on the left side on the box.
Stoke tried to get back in the match, and did Crouch again have an effort on goal in the 62nd minute from the centre of the box, but his shot flew left past the post.
Santiago Carzorla could had given Arsenal their fourth goal in the 66th minute, when he received a great pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but saw his chip shot hit the bar and go out for a goal kick.
Stoke thought they got their first goal in the 76th minute, when a Peter Crouch pass found an unmarked Geoff Cameron who put the ball in the net. Unfortunately, the referee had already whistled for offside.
The match finished 3-0, giving Arsenal three important points and puts them fifth in the league, only one point behind Manchester United on third, who still had to face Southampton who are fourth. Arsenal will have the chance to get into the top four if they manage to beat Manchester City away at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday.
Stoke City on the other hand will be disappointed with the loss, as they didn’t show any creativity or any will to win the game. The loss puts them 11th in the league with 26 points, and do Stoke need to work hard on their attacking and creativity if they want to get some points against Leicester who they face away on Saturday next week.