Arsenal fell victim to a goal from on loan striker Jese just two minutes into the second half as Stoke City registered their first win of the season against the disappointed Gunners.
The mood among the Arsenal fans seemed reminiscent of last season, with a lot of the Arsenal fans clashing over the ‘WengerOut-WengerIn’ debate. Their team did boss possession and had a glut of chances; but nothing to show for at the end of the game. The closest they came was an offside call after Lacazette thundered the ball into the back of the net; though replays showed that it was marginal and the benefit of doubt could have gone to the striker.
Nonetheless, a lot to ponder for Arsene Wenger as he must rectify the errors before taking his team to Anfield for their next game.
Here are the talking points from the game.
Ozil – Why does he look so lost?
Mesut Ozil on his day is unstoppable. But when things don’t go his way; we look at a man who seems uninterested. He wasn’t really helped by his teammates either, but he cut a forlorn figure and that didn’t really help him nor his team. He is the inventive cog in this team and he failed to find inspiration on the evening. Also, it is baffling to see how he’s being treated at the club. He is indeed their most creative player, but when he isn’t playing well; Arsene should have the courage to drop him or take him off.
Players being played out of position
Against Leicester City, Arsene Wenger played Oxlade Chamberlain at LWB and Bellerin at RWB. Yesterday, he switched their roles. What was the point of it? Bellerin on his weaker foot is harmless and given that he was up against a forward in Diouf, he should have done much better. Kolasinac, who is a natural left back by trade was once again deployed as a left centre half. Wenger has clearly not learnt from his mistakes last season and he keeps playing players out of position.
Another disappointing performance by Xhaka
Another loose pass from the Swiss international that lead to a goal. His performance at the centre of the park was dismal, to say the least. Sloppy passes even when not under any sort of pressure were a frequent occurrence on the night. Arsenal’s formation of a 3-4-3 demands for a ball playing midfielder. Xhaka has been chosen to play that role but didn’t vindicate his role on the evening.
Stoke on the way up?
Stoke City seemed to be reeling with the loss of Marco Arnautovic to West Ham but were quick to sign Jese Rodrigues from PSG on a loan deal. They even added Chupo-Moting from Schalke who was a regular threat down the right. At the back, they were buoyed with the excellent defensive displays from Kurt Zouma; another loanee from Chelsea and Eric Pieters. They had just 22% possession on the night but looked threatening on the break. Could this be a season of resurgence from Stoke, after seeing a fresh wave of attacking football against a top side like Arsenal?
Favoritism from Wenger?
Another baffling feature on the night was Wenger’s substitutions. He removed Kolasinac for Giroud; Lacazette and Xhaka for Iwobi and Walcott. Some of the players that massively underperformed on the evening were Ozil, Welbeck and Bellerin. All three managed to finish the game. Lacazette looked alert around the box and looked threatening on a few occasions. Kolasinac could be played higher up the pitch as his pace and attacking intent is there to be exploited; but sadly, they were sacrificed as the game progressed.
Baffling substitutions from a manager who knows results like this could turn the entire fan base against him.
A lot to change for Arsene as he prepares his troops for the trip to Anfield. Wenger must go into the game knowing another disappointing performance will leave them with considerable ground to make so early in the season.