Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed a ‘strong and united’ performance by the team yesterday as the Gunners blew away Stoke City by a three goal margin. The game was sweet, sweet revenge after our loss at the Britannia and once again highlighted what the team is capable of when they play well. After taking the lead early on via a Koscielny header, we never looked like easing up and pressured them throughout the game, with the stellar Alexis Sanchez scoring twice after assisting the opening goal. We could have netted even more, but not all players took their chances in front of goal.
In what was a very good day, we also had Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey return from injury; David Ospina turn in a strong performance in the goal, and Francis Coquelin make another strong case for a regular starting berth. The only negative was the injury to Mathieu Debuchy, but if Wenger buys in the transfer market it should offset the loss.
Speaking about the victory to arsenal.com, this is what Wenger had to say:
It shows you that things can change very quickly in the game and I believe we learned a lesson from the first game. Over there, after 30 seconds we were 1-0 down but here, very early in the game, we were 1-0 up.
It was a very convincing performance going forward, defending and the quality of our game was high. That’s all very positive.
We moved the ball well, too quickly to be caught in challenges, and our movement off the ball was strong. Our united performance was very good.
The manager also expressed his surprise when informed that Koscielny’s goal was the eighth headed goal Arsenal have scored this season:
Yes [it goes under the radar]. I’m the manager – even I can’t believe it because the basis of our game is to pass on the ground, but we are dangerous in the air.
That passing is only going to get better over the next few weeks, as players like Ozil and Ramsey start playing more regularly. Though it has taken half the season, we finally got to see Walcott, Ozil and Sanchez play together yesterday and as our full strength squad becomes available our performances will surely get better and propel us into the Champions League spots. Now onward, to the next game against Manchester City.