Arsenal’s title hopes were severely dented at Britannia Stadium, Saturday, where Stoke City prevailed 1-0 thanks to a Jonathan Walters penalty in the second half.
Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny’s handball offense was responsible for the spot-kick, but the guests had a golden opportunity to level the scoreline in the dying moments when Yaya Sanogo skied his shot from in close.
Following are player ratings and analysis for both sets of players.
Half-Time analysis for Stoke
Begovic: Did well to save Cazorla’s lash from distance and also prevent a rebound.
Cameron: Has already made a notable contribution in defense, and his distribution has been good as well.
Shawcross: Played a delightful ball to Whelan for the best goalscoring chance of the first half.
Wilson: Was unmarked at the far post on a Stoke corner and should have opened the scoring.
Pieters: Booked in the 44th minute for a foul on Giroud.
N’Zonzi: Not spectacular, but not conceding space to the Arsenal playmakers, either.
Whelan: His thunderbolt was denied by Szczesny.
Walters: Hit the side netting on Stoke’s first breakthrough.
Adam: Passing has been sub-standard, but he’s been dropping back to help Whelan and N’Zonzi in a containment role.
Arnautovic: Good defensive display, but touched the ball just 26 times.
Crouch: Won all seven aerial duels in the first half.
Full-Time analysis for Stoke
Begovic: Made two saves, never allowed a rebound and was solid on set-pieces.
Cameron: Heroic at times, he made a crucial block on a late Gibbs cross.
Shawcross: After this sort of display you wonder how he wasn’t selected for the England team.
Wilson: Combined with Shawcross to prevent Arsenal from getting through on Begovic.
Pieters: Did exceptionally well to contain Sagna.
N’Zonzi: Yet another solid performance in midfield from the 25-year-old.
Whelan: Nearly opened the scoring in the first half and then threw his body in front of a late Arteta free-kick.
Walters: Took his penalty well for the game’s only goal.
Adam: Could easily have been sent off for a foul on Giroud midway through the second period.
Arnautovic: Was substituted to rousing applause after another impressive, all-around showing
Crouch: Should have scored in the first half when he attempted an ambitious high kick instead of a header.
Ireland: Had only two touches despite playing 17 minutes.
Etherington: Dispossessed Sagna late on.
Half-Time analysis for Arsenal
Szczesny: Made an exceptional save to deny Whelan.
Sagna: Delivered an accurate cross for Giroud to head on target.
Mertesacker: Has so far completed 96% of his passes.
Koscielny: Has yet to lose an aerial duel.
Gibbs: Distribution has been woeful, and he’s struggled at times opposite Walters.
Wilshere: A useful first half, but this is the sort of match his manager will want him to make a real indent in.
Arteta: Misplaced only a single pass in the first half.
Cazorla: Arsenal’s most lively attacker so far.
Rosicky: He’s not shying away from the physical battle.
Podolski: Only 14 touches in the opening period.
Giroud: Took two shots in the first half.
Full-Time analysis for Arsenal
Szczesny: Generally good, but went the wrong way on the Walters penalty.
Sagna: Played in a handful of good crosses that warranted better finishing.
Mertesacker: Ended the game with a 98% rate of passing.
Koscielny: Committed the handball that sent Walters to the spot.
Gibbs: Was better after the restart, but it’s hard to see him ever being more than a decent left-back.
Wilshere: Withdrawn in the 81st minute of a match his manager will have expected him to have far more of an impact in.
Arteta: Touched the ball 102 times, completed 92% of his passes and threw himself into four tackles.
Cazorla: Try as he might, he simply couldn’t create more than one opening.
Rosicky: Came off in the 74th minute for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Podolski: Hardly noticeable other than when he hit the side-netting in the first half.
Giroud: Another display of appalling finishing, although he admirably committed himself to the wars.
Ozil: His rate of distribution was abysmal.
Oxlade-Chamberlain: Added some spark immediately after coming onto the pitch.
Sanogo: Should have equalised in the final minutes when Oxlade-Chamberlain played a perfect ball to him in dangerous space.