Sunday, 29 April 2012

Stoke vs Arsenal Post match thoughts & Player Ratings

Morning all,

Stoke fans yesterday proved how idiotic people can be. To boo someone for having their leg snapped in two is something I just cannot get my head around. It is embarrassing for everyone involved really. Credit to Ramsey though for having a good game despite the unwarranted abuse. Wenger summed it up nicely in this interview:
“I don’t think you can be especially proud to boo Aaron Ramsey, I don’t see what he has done wrong in his behaviour but that’s an old story where the fans of Stoke stick behind their player. It shouldn’t go as far as booing Aaron Ramsey.”
Aside from that vile behaviour we had an important match with Arsenal in a position where they could really assert their hold on third spot. That was not to be though and whilst it can certainly be seen as two points dropped it is very much a case of one point gained too with Newcastle suffering a huge loss at the hands of Wigan. Two wins and we are guaranteed Champions League football next season.

Arsenal started well and had two great opportunities inside the first ten minutes. The best of which falling to Benayoun who had his tame effort easily saved. So although it could have easily been 2-0 to the visitors, as is usually the case in our matches; Stoke scored out of nothing.

If the opening was exciting the remainder of the match was anything but. We played well and Rosicky in particular looked like he could create an opening but we never really pushed on after the equaliser. We could and probably should have scored but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.

Player Ratings

Wojciech Szczesny - 6.5
Was solid throughout and was able to deal with a host of balls into the box with relative comfort. Arsenal finally have a goalkeeper that they can rely on. Had no chance with the goal.

Thomas Vermaelen – 7
Was out jumped easily for the Stoke opener but then that is not too surprising given the opposition player was about 74 feet tall. Had a solid game and should have won a penalty when his goalward bound shot was saved excellently by an outfield player.

Laurent Koscienly – 7.5
Was solid and rarely threatened. Is establishing himself in the team and it is fair to say he is one of the first names on the team sheet.

Kieran Gibbs – 7.0

Has really come into his own following an injury plagued first half to the season. Was criticised for some lapses in concentration and positional sense but both are improving week by week. A solid but not spectacular performance.

Bacary Sagna – 6.5
Had a mixed game. Great play in general but one moment of sloppiness led to Stokes opener. Gave the ball away unnecessarily which allowed for the opening. Was great defensively for the rest of the match summed up by a terrific goal line clearance.

Aaron Ramsey – 6.5
As touched upon earlier, he reacted well to being vindicated by Stoke fans with a steady and assured performance. Passed well and kept things a bit simpler which helped him get involved in the game.

Alex Song – 6.5

A solid game from the Cameroonian without ever really being outstanding. Was strong on the ball throughout.

Gervinho – 6
A much improved performance but he is yet to reach the heights expected of him. Starting to take players on but has poor end product. Needs a good pre-season.

Yossi Benayoun – 7
A fairly bright start eventually evolved into a more quiet performance. Made some crucial interceptions and pressed brilliantly. A very decent showing.

Tomas Rosicky – 7.5
Our best player on the day. Seemed to be everywhere, seamlessly shifting between gears to put pressure on stoke. He created two glorious chances for Robin Van Persie.

Robin Van Persie – 7

Scored to get us back into the game and played well throughout. Was unlucky not to have had a hat-trick.

So whilst we have dropped two points we still edge closer to third place.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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