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.
|Stoke City Player Ratings|
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.
|Arsenal Player Ratings|
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.