Video: Arsenal 3 Stoke City 1

One really feels terrible for Arsene Wenger at the loss of Aaron Ramsey. He gave the Welshman his second start because of Arshavin’s injury and just as against Sunderland, Ramsey and Cesc again combined well to keep the midfield purring smoothly. I think we were beginning to see Cesc’s load being lightened by an able and talented deputy. Arshavin has been playing out of position. Nasri is still too hit and miss. Rosicky is unable to play all 90 minutes. Would Ramsey continue on Arshavin’s return? One would have liked him to. Well, we don’t have that choice now.
More on the other players. I think Arsenal succeeded because players who were getting pilloried turned in some fine performances.
Nicklas Bendtner for one. We rarely get headers from any player other than our defenders. Which makes Bendtner’s goal all the more special. It was perfectly executed. His touch on the ball was far more deft than I have seen all season. And towards the end he should have gotten a penalty when he was bumped off by Danny Collins who made no attempt to play the ball. Actually, this could have been the third such call as earlier in the second half, Faye pushed down Ramsey for a clear foul.
Gael Clichy showed more zip in his policing and he seemed less wasteful with his passes. Manuel Almunia looked a bit nervy with the Rory Delap throw ins but Pugh’s goal is not his fault, the Arsenal defense should have protected the far post. On another occasion he bungled a throw in but fortunately, Sidibe fouled him.
Sol Campbell played really well combining with Vermaelen to not allow Ricardo Fuller, always a slippery customer too much latitude.
The hustle that Arsenal showed was heartening especially with the third goal. Great bit of work by Cesc to cut the cross back but equally important was Vermaelen having the wits to come forward to finish of the chance. It was his 7th goal and he is on top of the list with most goals scored by a defender.

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