Stoke City 1-4 Arsenal: Player ratings as rampant Arsenal thrash sorry Stoke

Stoke City 1-4 Arsenal: Player ratings as rampant Arsenal thrash sorry Stoke

A rare win at the Bet365 Stadium keeps Arsenal within touching distance of the top four.

TJWedderburn
TJ Wedderburn

Arsenal's first league win away to Stoke since 2010 kept The Gunners' hopes of a top four finish alive.

At a venue where Arsenal haven't enjoyed the best of times, a convincing attacking display saw them run out comfortable winners.

Arsenal's dominance in the first half meant a usually raucous Stoke crowd were surprisingly subdued. The visitors broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute. Francis Coquelin picked out Hector Bellerin in space, who then drilled the ball across the box for Olivier Giroud to tap home from close range.

In the second half, Arsenal continued to control the game and before long were 2-0 up via Mesut Ozil. A controversial Peter Crouch goal then game the home side brief hope, but further goals from Alexis Sanchez and Giroud completed a well-deserved win for The Gunners.

Goalkeeper and defence

Petr Cech - 8 - Another solid performance from Arsenal's experience goalkeeper. Cech has been in inspired form in recent weeks and aided his team's cause with some crucial saves.

Hector Bellerin - 7 - In for the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bellerin proved a reliable deputy by bagging an impressive two assists. The Spanish international had a nervy start to the game, but soon found his feet after picking out Giroud who couldn't miss a yard out.

Rob Holding - 8 - Arsenal supporters are very excited at the prospect of Holding featuring regularly in the team, and his performance against Stoke will have only added to that excitement. The 21-year-old was a picture of composure, and his excellent work to win the ball back lead to Arsenal's third goal.

Laurent Koscielny - 7 - Having shaken off a calf injury, Koscielny regained his place in the heart of Arsenal's defence and put in an assured display. Several key headed clearances meant Stoke could not threaten the Arsenal goal as often as they would've liked. 

Shkodran Mustafi - - Another good outing from Arsenal's summer recruit. With Arsene Wenger now using a back three, the likes of Mustafi now have the freedom to play out from the back and help contribute to Arsenal's possession-based game. 

Nacho Monreal - 7 - Moved forward into a left wing back role, Nacho's movement caused Stoke problems for the duration of the match. The former Malaga man was unlucky not to be on the scoresheet, after his first half header hit the post. 

Midfield

Granit Xhaka - 7 - Another encouraging performance from a player who is becoming more and more influential to his team. Xhaka dictated proceedings in the middle of the park and it was his pass to Coquelin which lead to Arsenal's opener. 

Francis Coquelin - 8 - Used in favour of Aaron Ramsey in central midfield, Coquelin repaid Wenger's faith with a gutsy display sprinkled with quality. The Frenchman has found himself on the fringes recently, he no doubt reminded the Arsenal faithful what he's capable of.

Mesut Ozil - 8 - The German international was at his brilliant best for certain spells in the game. Including for his goal, where he collected a pinpoint pass from Sanchez to finish beautifully beyond Stoke 'Keeper Jack Butland.

Alexis Sanchez - - Arsenal's man of the season came up trumps once again with a goal and a quite remarkable assist. The diminutive forward also showed his toughness, after scoring an important goal in the game despite appearing to be injured.

Attack

Olivier Giroud - 8 - Two goals for Giroud on his return to the Arsenal starting lineup. The first being a tap in from close range and the second being another from inside the 6 yard box following good work by substitute Aaron Ramsey.

Substitutes

Aaron Ramsey - 6 - Came off the bench and made his presence felt by assisting Giroud's second goal of the day.

Danny Welbeck - 5 - Didn't have sufficient time to make any telling contributions, but closed down Stoke's defence well with his usual enthusiasm and endeavour.  

Theo Walcott - 5 -Also closed down well and offered an outlet on the right wing. 

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