Arsenal's defence a positive in Stoke win, and has a striking partnership been born?

Arsenal's defence a positive in Stoke win, and has a striking partnership been born?

A much improved second half from The Gunners saw them cruise to a comfortable victory against a lacklustre Stoke.

TJWedderburn
TJ Wedderburn

Arsenal kept their slim chances of a top four finish alive after overcoming a Stoke side battling for Premier League survival.

Goals from record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an Alexandre Lacazette spot kick were enough to see the north Londoners claim all three points at The Emirates.

Arsenal have tightened up defensively

In what can only be described as a disappointing league campaign, Arsenal's defence has drawn criticism from numerous quarters.

However, The Gunners now have back to back clean sheets in the league, having successfully shut out Watford and Stoke at home. 

Arsenal's home record in the league is actually very good, having only lost to the two Manchester clubs all season. But the rate in which they were conceding goals both home and away represented cause for concern. 

Both Petr Cech and David Ospina played their part in Arsenal's recent defensive improvements. Cech kept goal against Watford, where he saved his first penalty since joining in 2015 and in the process claimed his 200th clean sheet. Whereas Ospina deputised against Stoke for the aforementioned injured Cech.

Now, having recorded back to back clean sheets, the task Arsenal face is to keep this current run going and finish the season as strongly as possible. With possible Europa League success on the horizon, The Gunners could yet salvage a season which at one point seemed destined for failure. 

Aubameyang and Lacazette can play together

When Lacazette arrived at Arsenal last summer for a then record fee, very few would've predicted Arsenal delving into the winter transfer market to add another forward.

Be that as it may, Arsene Wenger did in fact add another striker in January in the shape of ex-Dortmund forward Aubameyang. The Gabonese international has hit the ground running in England, scoring five goals in his first six games for the club.

This has lead to many questioning the future of Lacazette, who despite being Arsenal's top scorer this season with ten goals, has not quite produced as often as the Gunners faithful would've hoped. 

But after coming off the bench against Stoke following a spell on the sidelines, he was partnered up front with Aubameyang and the chemistry between the pair provided room for optimism. 

Both strikers were able to get on the scoresheet and gave Stoke's backline a torrid time. Aubameyang, who'd already scored two goals had the perfect opportunity to grab a hat trick after Arsenal were awarded a second penalty of the afternoon. But in a very sportsmanlike manner, he opted to let Lacazette take the penalty, which he duly converted. 

It's early days yet, but the signs are promising of a potent partnership. Particularly given the fact that Aubameyang is adept at playing out wide, Lacazette could yet find himself back in the Arsenal starting XI.

 

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