Stoke Thrashed. Player Ratings

They came, we conquered.

All this nonsense about a penalty which upon first sight was nailed on and only on slo-mo was perhaps wrongly given. By this time Stoke were blowing and an Arsenal victory assured,  just check the stats – we had 24 shots! Were Stoke unlucky to lose by 3 goals? Of course not, they were lucky not to lose by more.

That said, the first half was simply awful; full of wayward passes, backward movement, silly defending and hardly a shot on target.

Ospina:  Kicking a bit wayward. Didn’t concede. Stoke hit the post from a corner which he should have caught.  I don’t trust him.   6

Chambers: Some of his passing was dreadful and put us onto the back foot when we should have been launching attacks. His tackling was good as was his work at set pieces. Should/Could have scored.    4

Mustafi: A strange game. Some of his interventions were excellent though I worry when as the last defender he goes to ground to block the attacker. Needs to play the simple ball out of defence.   7

Monreal: Not his best game. Not secure at the back nor contributing much to attack. Had one very good shot saved by Butland.   5

Ramsey: IMO our best player. Always in place for a pass, working hard to supplement the attack. Like others his passing in the first half was below par  8

Wilshire: Didn’t really influence the game. I want more from him.  Worked very hard and improved 2nd half   6

Elneny: We saw his limitaions in what was probably his worst game in the shirt. The difference when Xhaka replaced him was massive, though it must be said that Stoke were tiring at this point. His passing was awful in the first half.   4

Welbeck:  Worked ahrd as always. Contributed little missing a good chance. Again, we saw the difference when Miki came on.   5

Ozil: Not at his influential best but lovely to watch.   7

PEA:  Scored twice. Missed a one on one though Butland did well to stop him. Lovely finish for his second and generous in giving Laca the second penalty.  6 games, 5 goals. Gave a good post-match interview in excellent English (did you listen Sanchez?)  7

As ever ratings are subjective and on a day when few are blogging, does it matter if you disagree? 😀

written by Big Raddy

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45 Responses to Stoke Thrashed. Player Ratings

  1. Gööner In Exile says:

    To be fair the ratings feel about right Raddy, although from row 13 in the lower tier behind the goal you don’t get a good sense of the patterns of play.

    Even wise is the fact that so many implore shoot when attacking the opposite end and I doubted on many occasions we were close to the 18 yard box. Much less demanding a shot in the second half when you know how far out they are.

    The first half was pedestrian at best and we gave Stoke plenty of reasons to fancy their chances.

    The first penalty looked stonewall from where we were, and having watched replays I’m almost certain there is a knock on Ozil’s foot in the start of the kicking motion, it brushes the defenders knee coming in from behind and he fails to make proper contact as a result.

    The second penalty was indisputable shoulder into Laca’s back was surprised how long he took to give it ad the lino waved flag and then pointed right rather than flag across chest to indicate penalty, have they changed the flagging system?

    Anyway as indicated yesterday, great day out, great result.

  2. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Raddy, thank you for taking the trouble to write your thoughts on player performances for the addicted few.

    Yep, the first half was as dire as it gets and we were fortunate not to concede any goals. The improvement really started with the subs who proved that they were in a different class to those who they replaced..

    In the end the important thing was the win and hopefully the team confidence it will take into the game on Thursday.

  3. phil says:

    Hardly a thrashing, that’s when you tear a team apart form the off and hammer them. This was a game Arsenal struggled to dominate and had the fortune of a very harsh penalty go in their favour. if it wasn;t for that stoke would have kept it tight and no way would it have been 3-0, possibly 1-0 or even 0-0. Totally biased review and once again a struggling club duped by carp referee.And your arrogance is horrible.If you’re going to write an article at least make it fair and subjective not just what your readers may want to hear.

  4. Rasp says:

    Great job Raddy,I might give some of the ratings a slightly different slant, but awful for an hour, and so much better when LaCaz and Xhaka came on sums it up for me.

    Nice you’ve flushed phil out … I can only respond with the chant that went round the Emirates… “you’re going down, you’re going down, you’re going down” … where you deserve to be.

    Forget the penalty, they should have had a player sent off with a straight red, Lacaz got a deliberate elbow in the face and then 2 of them tried to kick his ankles away.

    One thing I would say is that Jack Buckland was impressive, big and commanding. Stoke won’t need him down in the championship so maybe with Phil’s permission, we could take him off their hands?

    Great to see GiE and George, together with the Vines’ and Irish. George is little ray of sunshine and a chip off the old block, he was far more engaging than the prematch entertainment … and the first 45 on the pitch 🙂

  5. Malaysian gunner says:

    Arsenal were lucky to get a penalty.It maybe so but I have seenit given.
    Whatever it is,Arsenal are taking a long time to converge on goal.
    The attack is predictable and can be easily nullified by a stronger team.
    Arsenal in a way mirror how the blues were swept aside by the spud.The latter were more directand the 2nd goal was bolt from the blue.
    Wenger better knowhis style wont make much headway among the elite of the Europa let alone the top 5.

  6. LB says:

    Yep, good read BR and I agree with all of it.

    What I would add is that as some have already pointed out above the play improved when Lacazzette and Xhaka came on, the thing that got missed was the Ramsey changed position at the same time from defending midfield to attacking midfield.

    This made a huge difference, it is not often that Wilshere plays ahead of Ramsey as happened yesterday but it just screamed to me how much more Ramsey brings to the table than Wilshere.

    In short Ramsey is wasted as a DM

    The only reason for such a combo was that yesterday’s formation was some kind of sop to Elneny for signing a new contract.

    If we need belt and braces put Elneny next to Xhaka with Ramsey ahead of the two.

  7. RA says:

    I am going to upset Phil, too.

    Your report was fair and straight forward, BR, as were your player ratings — altho I might disagree a little bit with the ‘8’ for Rambo.
    Good one.

    I had no problem with the first penalty award, and it is only when slo-mo is used, and repeated over and over again, is there any shadow of doubt about it.
    However, Phil seems to think that VAR has already been implemented in the EPL – (it hasn’t) – so his anger that we, Arsenal fans, simply accepted the referee’s decision, within the current Laws of the Game, was in some way wrong — when in fact he is in the wrong.

    To be honest I thought that not only was the first half absolutely crud (by both teams) but I think even in the 2nd half until Stoke tired and we got the penalty and then a lovely Auba volley for the 2nd did we look a bit more like it.

    Sadly, if we play like this again next season we will end up rudderless once more. The writing is on the wall, in my opinion. 😦

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    RA I think it wouldn’t matter how many times the management (AW or Bould) stress in team talks and press conferences that winning is winning and we are only focussed on the next game the players (apart from PEA) have all got one eye on the next EL game, and we’re not fully committed. That said Stoke were having to work like trojans to get the ball they did, even though we weren’t really moving to help each other out.

    I think the problem with this mentality is it is very hard to switch it on and off dependent on the game. For me our problems started with ball at the back and to be honest sitting behind the goal we were defending it was difficult for Ospina and others to find a pass to a teammate, what seems easy from on high is a lot more difficult when you are at pitch level. That’s not to say they passed well but stationary players in front of them didn’t make it easy.

  9. fred1266 says:

    Any know where I can see the post match interview

  10. chas says:

    Lovely stuff, BR.

    A convincing win against relegation fodder. 🙂

    Lovely day out seeing all the gang and the little star from Norfolk.

  11. chas says:

    Freddie of no corporeal form

    Arsenalist

  12. chas says:


    Arsenal had 86.7% possession in the five minutes leading up to Bruno Martins Indi’s foul on Mesut Ozil

  13. chas says:

  14. RA says:

    Hi GIE,

    Of course you are correct.

    It is easy to arrive at a conclusion when you are watching from afar — and that leads to mistakes of judgement — I accept that, but I miss the wonderful free flowing football we were so privileged to see for so many years, and altho there is hope that when Auba, Mihki and LaCaz get more time to play together that things will improve, but at the moment I cannot help but feel all is not well in the camp.

    Fingers crossed we will keep on improving between now and the end of the season, and maybe – just maybe – we will win the EL and gain entry to the CL.

  15. Aaron says:

    Ratings are close and am glad to have read the post.

    Need to acknowledge GN5 for all his work on the best teams, unreal to read, really.

    And to many that believe we can just get back to free flowing futbol, I say wake up and watch some other leagues and games. The game has changed and teams no longer just give the Arsenal all the time and space they need every game.

    Just look at manure or baRca for tactics, moaninho puts everyone in the 18 yard box against top six teams on the road to get a point, and in spain baRca went to a 6-3-1 when up in the last ten minutes to preserve a lead.

    The Arsenal can still have amazing 1 touch passes and blistering attacks, but only against teams who come out and try to entertain the fans, if not you get stoke type games. just my lousy one cent.

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    Aaron that has been the story for many seasons, I said as much watching Spuds recently, they were having to move the ball sideways and sideways, it is what you have to do to create an imbalance in the defence. Our problem maybe that we have too many players looking to play the killer ball so when we are rotating ball across the pitch it can take too long to cause that imbalance whereas Spuds probably only have one or two men looking for that pass? And maybe also the lack of any real running with the ball threat which means defenders can fill space rather than close man with ball.

    Think we only need a few subtle tweaks. PEA out on the flank was interesting very likely we can play a 2 up with him and Laca going forward to next season.

    There has been a few too many changes and uncertainty this season, if we can settle into a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 with the right players on the pitch we may be able to deliver.

  17. Gööner In Exile says:

    RA wasn’t meant to be a criticism of observation, more an explanation as to why the team wasn’t free flowing, far more movement second half which meant we stretched Stoke and gave ourself space. One thing that stifles flowing football is stationary teammates.

  18. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, from a goalkeeper’s perspective, how did you rate Butland?

  19. LB says:

    Hmmm, yes Auba was good out on the left with Lacaz in the middle.

    Welbeck’s days are numbered unless he finally finds his form again.

    I expected so much from Danny, I really thought he would be where Kane is now, so disappointing. (that’s me not him)

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Rasp,

    Butland has a formidable physique but I wonder if he has the agility needed to become top class. Wouldn’t it be great if Opsina had size to go along with his agility.

  21. RA says:

    I did not take it as criticism, at all, GIE. That is not your way. 🙂

    Actually I was comparing a pretty slow, turgid game with my memories of fast free flowing games of yesterday year.
    That style of football requires players capable of creating and expediting it, whereas the present team are short in that department.

    The result of the current sideways and backwards passing game we play or are forced into playing only creates stasis caused by a lack of momentum.

    When we ‘click’ the momentum is there and we do produce some wonderful first time passing, as you say, and we either score or give the loyal fans what they are craving for — but to be candid there are many fans perfectly happy for us to play poorly to meet their own agenda of ‘Wenger Out’, and that helps no one — but that’s just the way it is.

  22. Rasp says:

    On that theme … the one word I heard expressed more than any other in that first half was not ‘shoot’ … but ‘forward’.

    It seems only Ozil and Jack have the spacial awareness to receive the ball in midfield when facing our goal and then to know which way to turn to drive play forwards. Our midfielders received the ball from a CB many times yesterday and just played it straight back when in fact they had plenty of time to turn and start some forward momentum..

    I saw a clip of a Guardiola training session where he was telling his players to receive the ball on the half turn so that they would know which direction to move to take play forwards.

    Our movement was poor for the first hour yesterday … often we didn’t offer a forward pass to the defenders in possession. We also lost possession of the ball more than 50% of the time from our own throw ins whilst failing to shut down Stoke’s options when they had a throw in. Also, if we’re not going to compete aerially for goalkeeper kicks, we should at least position ourselves to give the best chance of picking up 2nd ball.

  23. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5, I thought Butland was agile for a big man. The diving save he made for Jack’s shot was top drawer. Ospina’s lack of height was exposed by that overhead lob that luckily hit the post and came out.

  24. RA says:

    Agreed, Rasper.

    I think it is a pity that Macey at 6’6″ is not given game time to get the experience and exposure he needs — especially as all thoughts seem to point to both Cech and Ospina taking the slow boat home.

    Butland going to a ‘lower’ club has got the game time and is now probably the best English GK — whereas Macey and Martinez who may well be better than Butland just do not get a look in.

    Funny game, professional football.

    You never know, maybe that is what happened to our very own GIE – perhaps if he had gotten a break he would be whizzing around in just one of his many Ferraris. 😀

  25. RA says:

    Oh, and another thing, Rasp, I am fascinated to learn of Guardiola’s training techniques, especially with the body positions when receiving a ball — and look what he has done to Stirling — taken Mr Ordinary and turned him into Captain Fantastic.

    Maybe something to learn there? 😀

  26. Big Raddy says:

    I know this is late but are there any spare tickets (one) for Thursday night. I will be in London

  27. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Selling Szcesny was a bizarre decision but perkaps he wanted away.

  28. Gööner In Exile says:

    I must say I like Butland as a stopper and a commander, and by that I felt he made very few bad decisions in terms of coming for high balls etc. Also he waited well for PEA in that one on one.

    But there is nothing like playing for the big clubs, every error is highlighted far more than it is playing for Stoke or the like. You have to come back stronger, you have to deal with it better, otherwise the downward spiral is very fast.

    For me at the top level shot stopping of most keepers is equal, some get more opportunity to practise that art than others and so earn higher praise than keepers in the big clubs. But those that can keep their concentration during long periods of inactivity and able to make the difference on those 3 or 4 big defensive moments are what sorts the best from the rest in the EPL.

    Those top shot stoppers often get plaudits and talk of big teams coming in for them and then when they get there fail to live up to the hype, Recent example Simon Mignolet who many Arsenal fans would have had us sign. There is also plenty of evidence of keepers who have failed to make the grade at a big club, and impressed when lower down, Friedel, Foster, and even our own Fabianski. Coming into the first team at a young age at a big club requires a very special talent.

    As an Arsenal fan it’s hard to assess keepers, always thought with a bit of calming Szczesny had all the right attributes, but his ego got the better of him in the end. But we have been lucky as a club, Wilson, Jennings, Lukic, Seaman, and even Lehman (although mad Jens was a bit too mad for my liking). We’ve struggled ever since in my view.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. You didn’t like Almunia. I am shocked 🙂

  30. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, Leno is the keeper rumoured to be favoured by Mislintat. I know nothing about him except that his wiki analysis is impressive and he’s touted as Neuer’s future replacement.

  31. chas says:

  32. LB says:

    Could have watched that iceberg for longer. Certainly more entertaining than the first half on the weekend.

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Am away for a week in London, so unlikely to write the PM. Sorry.

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    Have to be v brief

    Motning all
    Thanks Erik
    Agree LB re Danny
    Erik, do you want to use my red card for exchange or tickets?
    Love the iceberg
    I could do the thurs. pm
    over and out

  35. Eddie says:

    morning all
    Thanks Raddy for 2 great posts, I had no time to comment over Easter, on familiy duties.
    I always love your Stoke and Spurs hating posts, they are the best 🙂

    I didn’t watch the game and was somehow taken aback by the ratings, Did only half the team play? Can you imagine the result if all the dudes joined in?

    What happened to Elneny? Burn out?

  36. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks Micky.

    Ticket Fairy on the case, though with very short notice.

  37. RA says:

    Morning Folks,

    BR and GIE covered the goalie thing, and my tuppence worth is that I was mystified about the Chezzer debacle as he was a real Gunner and very talented — so there must have been other matters that we were not aware of which ended his Arsenal career.

    The cigarette in the shower thing? Really? I have never smoked but a wet piggy in the shower — some feat. 🙂

  38. RA says:

    No, no, no — a wet piggy in the shower would have merited the sack, I suppose, but that was ‘ciggy’ — try typing it if you do not believe me! 😇

  39. RA says:

    Would anyone in authority like a quick Post to move things on?

    If so, I have put a quick ‘un on the back of the previous Post. 😀

  40. Rasp says:

    … yes … go ahead Redders …..

  41. RA says:

    Your wish is my command Rasper — as BR is wont to say, ‘Let it be so’ and so it is!! 😀

  42. Rasp says:

    … are you emailing something to arsenalnuts?

  43. I’ve sorted it ……………

    We have a New Post ……………………

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