Goals: Stoke: Jese (47)
Referee Rating: Andre Marriner 2. A miserable day for the referee and the linesmen. They mistakenly ruled Lacazette’s goal offside, the most glaring of their many errors. Marriner turned down two penalty calls, a trip on Bellerin in the first half and a handball in the second. Wenger lamented that Arsenal never get penalties.
Manager Rating: Wenger 5. He switched Bellerin to the left and Ox to the right and the switch had promising results, with both players heavily involved in the offence. His substitutions didn’t pay off though. Giroud played well, but Iwobi and Theo never really got into the game.
Arsenal performance: Arsenal were better defensively, but the goal came from a turnover. Arsenal dominated offensively, but were ineffective finishing up front as well as facing a hot keeper.
Conclusion: There went the perfect season and there was an open reminder of how much Alexis means for this team. Welbeck was heavily involved, but his lack of a finishing touch was problematic. They need to get their act together as Liverpool loom ahead.
Cech 7: Not to blame for their goal. He was not terribly busy, but was strong in attacking Stoke crosses.
Mustafi 6: Some dodgy passes, a poor cross in the game’s dying moments, and a nasty challenge on Erik Pieters.
Monreal 7: Not really to blame for the goal, although maybe he could’ve been closer. Generally solid through most of the match.
Kolasinac 6: A largely quiet day for Sead, although he did plough into Diouf at one point.
Ramsey 7: He had a generally positive match, with four chances. He had a chance off a free-kick from the Ox, but Butland made a fine save. A later chance came from a Mustafi cross, but he hit it right at Butland.
Xhaka 4: He made several wayward passes, one of which led to the goal. He also made some clumsy fouls and gave away needless free-kicks. To sum up his day, he lazily jogged after a deflected pass, which a more motivated Stoke player managed to retrieve by actually running. Last week he was a hero, today just a little more than a zero.
Bellerin 7: Fouled once in the box, a place he found himself in often. He had a good chance early in the second half, but his shot lacked power.
Oxlade-Chamberlain 7: He had a number of impressive runs at the defence, but was selfish on a couple of occasions, taking poor shots instead of looking to pass. He did create several chances at other times, especially his free-kick to Ramsey.
Ozil 7: He had a poor first half, but played much better in the second half. Still didn’t impose himself on the match. He had one terrific run into the box that was quite memorable.
Lacazette 6: The goal that was disallowed was well taken. What was not well taken were a couple of other opportunities, where poor touch was an issue. He drifted in and out of the game.
Welbeck 7: I lost count of the many chances he had. Lacazette played him in and he couldn’t score, he volleyed a pass from the Ox straight at Butland, he couldn’t knock home Butland’s fumble of a Bellerin shot, he “headed” Ozil’s cross over the bar (it hit his shoulder more than his head), he couldn’t convert after a nifty back heel from Giroud, and so on. He was a handful for Stoke, he was dominant, but he couldn’t score.
Giroud 7: He made a nice back heel to Welbeck and he narrowly missed heading home the equalizer.
Walcott n/a: Not on long enough to make an impact.
Iwobi n/a: Not on long enough to make an impact.