Arsenal overcame a tepid first half to defeat Stoke City 3-0 at the Emirates on Sunday in the Premier League. Aubameyang scored twice before Lacazette ensured a 16th straight home victory over Stoke City. Three goals in 14 minutes saw off Rugby FC.
Tepid First Half
Wenger made 7 changes in his starting XI with Xhaka and Mhkitaryan on the bench. Cech wasn’t in the squad due to injury and thus Ospina was in goal.
Was it the number of changes or the return from the international break? The first half was full of error and misplaced passes. Ozil, Wilshere, Monreal and others were culprit but the Gunners were lucky not to be punished by Shaqiri and his Stoke colleagues. They did turn up the heat towards the end of the half but they were half chances. Chambers had two of his headers off target and another chance missed. There were no goals till the 75th minute.
Mesut Ozil was awarded a penalty after Indi made contact with him the box. Replay indicate that the Stoke defender got the ball first but it was a tough call from the referee. Aubameyang converted in the 75th minute and the goal rain began.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Gunners were 2-0 up. Aubameyang reacted quickest from a corner to put the ball beyond Butland. In the 89th minute, Lacazette was bundled over the box. He picked himself up and slotted in Arsenal’s third.
Aubameyang passed on the opportunity to register his first hattrick for the Gunners when he allowed Lacazette to take the second penalty of the game. It would have been 6 goals in 6 games for the Gabonese but he prefered to sacrifice that glory to build the confidence of Lacazette.
Recall that Lacazette has been off since missing those glorious chances against Spurs and he would be Arsenal’s main striker against CSKA on Thursday in the Europa League. Don’t mention Welbeck here.
The English pundits (Shearer et al) are having a go at Aubameyang for not taking the second. Like Wenger said in the post match conference “That shows well the state of our society, because when people are generous, we are surprised”
Next up is CSKA Moscow.