Ozil simply must step up
You have to be brave to criticise Mesut Ozil because once you do you inevitably feel the wrath of the German’s loyal fan base on social medai.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who fail to recognise the outstanding qualities the German possesses.
Ozil is a fabulous player, when he’s on form and given time there is no-one like him in the Premier League. It’s like watching an artist at work with the way he glides across the football pitch.
But at Stoke on Saturday Ozil was at his most frustrating. Sure, there were a couple of nice moments, a couple of delightful shoulder drops that saw him lose his man with ease.
But overall he was huge disappointment and his woeful attempt to track back as the hosts raced away to score what proved to be the winner summed his performance up.
Ozil wasn’t alone, almost every single Arsenal player were well below par – but they aren’t demanding around £300,000 a week to stay at the club.
If you want that sort of money you have to step up every single week and even the most ardent Ozil fan has to admit he does not do no that, especially away from the Emirates when he is put under pressure.
Arsenal need more from their playmaker, it’s as simple as that.
Ramsey was the bright spark
Few Arsenal players emerged with any credit from Saturday’s game, but Aaron Ramsey was one of them.
The Wales international – once again booed by an idiotic home crowd – continued his fine form with an all action display in midfield.
Ramsey was bright, his energy was impressive and he caused Stoke all sorts of problems with his movement.
You felt if Arsenal were going to get anything from the game Ramsey would have something to do with it.
The former Cardiff man has been in fine form and is showing signs of getting back to his best.
Butland has to be on Arsenal’s list
We saw two keepers at very different stages of their career on Saturday.
Petr Cech didn’t put a foot wrong for Arsenal and was left exposed by his midfield and defence for the goal that ultimately won the game.
But the former Chelsea man is undoubtedly in the twilight of his great career, while at the other end Jack Butland is still very much at the beginning.
The Stoke keeper once again demonstrated just how good he is, making several fine stops and dealing with every cross that came his way.
Arsenal are going to have to look at the goalkeeping situation at the end of the season with Cech coming towards the end of his career and Ospina surely on his way out.
They have already missed out on Jordan Pickford, they can’t afford to do the same with Butland. He has to be at the top of their list.
Xhaka must cut out the sloppy errors
The improvement during the second half of last season from Granit Xhaka was exciting to witness for Arsenal fans.
So big things were expected from the Swiss midfielder at the start of the current campaign and the signs were promising after his fine display against Chelsea in the Community Shield.
But against Leicester he had a mixed display. He was at fault for two of their goals, but he made up for that somewhat by setting up Arsenal’s final two which earned the dramatic 4-3 win.
Against Stoke, however, there was to be no reprieve. Xhaka’s sloppy pass in midfield was seized upon by the hosts who raced forward to score what proved to be the winner.
It was a poor moment from the £35 million man, something he must cut out if he is to fulfil his undoubted potential at Arsenal.
Arsenal will improve when Koscielny returns
Laurent Koscielny will be back for Arsenal next week at Anfield – and his return can’t come soon enough.
If you ever wanted to see how important the Frenchman is to Arsene Wenger’s side you just have to glance at the last two performances in the Premier League.
Four goals conceded by a defence that looked shambolic at times.
Against Leicester they were torn apart at will and at Stoke – in a game Arsenal dominated – they weren’t good enough to keep out a team that barely threatened.
The one real time they were put under pressure they caved, albeit not helped by a midfield that were non-existent as the home side broke quickly.
Koscielny is no saviour, the reason he wasn’t playing today was because of his own stupidity on the final day of last season when he was sent off against Everton.
But there is no doubt Arsenal are a far better side when he is in the heart of the defence.