Arsenal secured back to back wins in the Premier League for the first time since November as goals from Aubameyang and Lacazette helped defeat Stoke City.
Arsenal started life back in the Premier League with a late win over Stoke City at the Emirates. The win would have been quite a relief for the fans after their team suffered through a difficult period since the start of the year. That period efficiently ended their hopes to secure a top-four finish, but are now on track to progress in the Europa League.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is ineligible in the Europa League, continued to shine since his arrival at the Emirates as he scored a brace against Stoke. He essentially gave away the chance to complete his hat-trick by giving the ball to Lacazette to score Arsenal’s third from the penalty spot. In the process, this happened:
5 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has now scored five goals in the Premier League; the most by any Arsenal player in their first six appearances in the competition. Alive. pic.twitter.com/Ha3tfxFvSb
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 1, 2018
It indeed was a kind gesture from the former Borussia Dortmund man to give Alexandre Lacazette the much-needed goal upon his return from injury. Overall, Arsenal laboured on the day against a struggling Premier League side, who could possibly go down at the end of this season, but they should have shown more vigour and creativity to kill off the game earlier than they did.
How did the Gunners’ rate against the Potters?
David Ospina – 6/10
Hardly put a wrong foot during the game, that was partly because he barely had anything to do as Stoke struggled to break down Arsenal’s defence, and relied on a few ambitious efforts while he made the saves he should have. His problems lie with ariel balls, and the Shaqiri corner that hit the post showed that.
Hector Bellerin – 6/10
A positive afternoon for Bellerin who was comfortable enough in defensive and contributed wisely to Arsenal’s attacks. Ramadan at times got the better of him, but he held his composure and defended well against whatever was thrown at him.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7/10
A mixed game from the German. He displayed an aggressive side to his game, with some outstanding tackles, which even Mertesacker would be proud of. The other hand was when he made some sloppy passes in the first half which if stoke had attacked well could have proven costly for Arsenal.
Calum Chambers – 7/10
An encouraging performance from Chambers, who in our opinion should have scored from three excellent chances he got, especially the third one where he mis-kicked the ball. In defence, he was rock solid and complemented Mustafi, while their partnership looked good.
Nacho Monreal – 6/10
A good, reliable performance from the Spaniard at left-back. Much like Bellerin, he showed good awareness in defending as well as contributed wisely to attacks. He also had an excellent chance to take a shot but missed it as it was his wrong foot.
Jack Wilshere – 6/10
A surprise inclusion in the starting eleven given his injury-led absence for England. Started the game well, let his teammates into spaces with his excellent runs. He had some off passes in promising positions, but he was trying hard to make things happen. He is undoubtedly developing a good partnership with Aaron Ramsey.
Mohamed Elneny – 7.5/10
Elneny’s defensive contribution, as well as his structuring abilities in midfield, go unnoticed. Against Stoke, he was the deepest lying midfielder for Arsenal and often joining centre-backs in protecting the goal. He truly acted as the 5th defender at times, but also made some wise little moves into the attacking third. He certainly is a more mobile and athletic option to Xhaka.
Aaron Ramsey – 8/10
Ramsey’s game is to be completely involved in proceedings at either end of the pitch. Against Stoke he made some charging runs into the box to make himself available whenever he could. Teed up Welbeck on a few ocassions and tipped the crossbar in the first half. He is developing a good partnership and understanding with Wilshere in midfield. Man of the match.
Danny Welbeck – 4/10
To his credit, he was somewhat out of position on the left and could not participate as a left-sided attacker would. To blame him his involvement was next to nothing. Bad passes, positioning problems and bad first touches had his game ruined for him. Subbed off for Lacazette to replace him around the hour mark.
Mesut Ozil – 6.5/10
Ozil’s creative touch was off in the first half and was completely frustrated with how things went. This continued deep into the second half, until he sent a brilliant throughball for Aubameyang to score, which he missed. It was Ozil who won Arsenal their first penalty, but grew into the game as time went on.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 8/10
Aubameyang continues to score and against Stoke, he scored his 4th & 5th Arsenal goals, in only six appearances. Tried to make things happen in the first half, but was shorn of any service. In the second after missing a glorious chance to put Arsenal in the lead from an Ozil ball, he did score from the penalty spot and then a first time shot off a deflected corner. He could have scored his hat-trick but passed it up for Lacazette to score on his return.
Alexandre Lacazette – 7/10
Came on in place of Welbeck and added some much needed vigour into the team. He also showcased some good dribbling, touches and held the ball well. Scored a goal on his return, courtesy Aubameyang who passed up the chance to score his hattrick. As for Arsenal, its a timely return with the Europa League quarter-finals looming.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6/10
He is slowly becoming a key member of the Arsenal set up. His presence was sorely missed for almost till he came on. Without him, the team lacked edge in the final third. Had a good shot on goal from inside the box.
Granit Xhaka – 5/10
Sent in place of Elneny to keep the scoreline intact and mainly shore things in midfield. He did that.