Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vintage Arsenal Stifle Stoke, Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City

3-1.  The scoreline itself is a tonic to those questioning Arsenal's Premier League credentials.  Not a close scrape, not a last gasp winner, but a solid, confident three goals and three points.  The Flying Dutchman scored yet another brace, this time from the bench.  The tally gives Van Persie 7 on the season and it seems the striker can't keep from scoring at the moment.

Van Persie: Goal Machine
The opening of the game was a quiet one.  A spurned chance here and there but the tone was decidedly in Arsenal's favor.  The quickness of Gervinho had whispered of the impending goal.  Arteta made a move downfield and eventually, the midweek hero Aaron Ramsey scooped a pass over the Stoke defense.  Gervinho collected and brought the goal home.  He showed a good bit of skill to beat the offside trap.  Seven minutes later, the Gunners were guilty of a similar sluggishness.  A seemingly innocuous free kick was dropped into Arsenal's box and Stoke's quick pinball passing resulted in Peter Crouch finding the net.  Throughout the season, that leveling goal has been the Arsenal's undoing.  The break came at a good time for them and the players were able to respond to the familiar situation positively.

Coming from the tunnel, Arsenal exhibited a more attacking edge.  A pair of dangerous crosses signaled the host's intent and once Robin Van Persie took the field, the offensive machine clicked into gear.  Six minutes later Arshavin's introduction only heightened their sense of urgency.  The Gunners were rolling and the goals were on the way.  At 73 minutes, Gervinho slipped a clever cutback to RVP who stabbed home from close range.  It was a lead, but this inspired side were not quite finished.  A close call resulting from Stoke's offensive substitution sobered Arsenal and it was time to complete the task.  With pace, Gervinho glided down the left wing, and again with a slick cutback passed to Van Persie who put the game beyond doubt with eight minutes to play. 

The Arsenal are developing well and are continuing to climb the table.  Gervinho's form in this match was fantastic as he more than adequately played the role of striker and supplier.  Despite its grim beginning, Arsenal's Premier League aspirations are looking better with each match.  Well Done Gunners!

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