Arsenal secured a 3-0 win over strugglers Stoke City at the Emirates, but the Gunners’ had to work hard in the game which lacked creativity and clear-cut chances.
Arsenal left it late at the Emirates to secure a 3-0 win over Stoke City, but the Gunners did not find it easy against the struggling Premier League side. The success means Arsenal have finally won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since November and continued their revival after a difficult period in January and February.
With one eye on Thursday’s Europa League quarter-finals, Arsene Wenger made several changes to his side that won against 3-0 against Watford. Danny Welbeck was rewarded a start for his showing against AC Milan the last time out, while there were starts for Calum Chambers and Jack Wilshere who missed the international break.
The first half was a drab affair with none of the sides threatening the goal. Arsenal fans cut a frustrating figure as their team failed to make any real impact while attacking Stoke. In fact, the only chance they created of any significance was a scramble inside the box and then Aaron Ramsey’s subsequent attempt brushing the post.
The half ended with no goals to either side. Arsenal were finding it difficult going forward with the ball and more often were passing the ball back to the defensive players. Stoke were more free-flowing in attack but Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi were always present to deal with their threat.
There were no surprises when the highly ineffective Danny Welbeck was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette, who was returning after being out for nearly two months with a knee injury. His presence did not have a significant effect initially, but Arsenal seemed to have found some of their usual zip in the attack.
Jack Butland was brilliant in saving from a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang effort and was the winner in the one-on-one situation. Arsenal further tested Butland’s goal after Bellerin squared the ball for Elneny, but his shot got blocked, but immediately after Monreal’s shot was comfortably caught by Butland.
In between Arsenal had some shaky, sloppy moments in defence but dealt with it and David Ospina, who was in the side for the injured Petr Cech had hardly anything to do today. Calum Chambers missed a glorious chance to put Arsenal in front as by miskicked the ball into Butland’s hands, and this was his third good chance of the game having missed two good header chances in the first half.
Arsenal did find the goal they needed after Mesut Ozil was felled inside the box by Bruno Martins-Indi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepped up to score in consecutive matches for the Gunners. Arsenal switched to another gear after the goal and Aubameyang stuck again after an Arsenal corner was deflected and the ball came to his feet. He stuck it well to make it 2-0 around the 86th-minute mark.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyag and Alexandre Lacazette scored a penalty apiece as they played their first game together for Arsenal. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty Images)
Alexandre Lacazette was then brought down inside the box by Ndiaye, resulting in another penalty for Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had the chance to score his first hattrick for Arsenal, but let Alexandre Lacazette take the spot-kick, and the French striker made no mistake in steering the ball past Butland.
In the end, Arsenal won the game, for which they had to work hard and needed a penalty to get them going on the score sheet. Arsenal’s result will boost the team as they travel to Moscow for their Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday, especially Lacazette who would have been pleased to score on his return from injury.